New Delhi: As Amarnath pilgrims and tourists prepared to leave the Kashmir Valley, a day after the state administration asked them to curtail their stay, the Ministry of Civil Aviation advised airlines to keep fares from Srinagar in check.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) stated that 6,216 passengers reported at the Srinagar International Airport on Saturday to travel out of the valley. Out of this, 5,829 passengers travelled by 32 scheduled flights. The remaining 387 passengers were accommodated in four Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft and flown to various destination like Jammu, Pathankot and Hindon.
“All passengers were flown out of the Valley in a planned and systematic manner. The entire operation was conducted smoothly by AAI officials in close coordination with the IAF, J&K Police, CRPF, BSF, the airlines and state authorities,” the AAI said.
Travel websites on Saturday showed the ticket prices on Srinagar-Delhi route between Rs 11,000 and Rs 20,000 for August 4. The prices for Srinagar-Mumbai flights for August 4 started from Rs 14,000 onward.
Earlier on Friday, Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had advised airlines to be ready to operate additional flights from Srinagar airport if the need arises. The statement came after the Indian Army, citing intelligence inputs, had said Pakistan-based terrorists were planning to target the Amarnath yatra.
Meanwhile, the railways has reportedly decided that no cancellation charge will be taken from passengers till Tuesday morning if they cancel reserved tickets booked for their journey originating from Jammu, Katra and Uddhampur stations. Earlier, Air India had announced waiver of cancellation fee on rescheduling or cancellation for all its flights to and from Srinagar till August 15.
The Army’s disclosure had prompted the Jammu and Kashmir administration to ask the yatris (pilgrims) and tourists to curtail their stay in the valley and leave immediately.
“Keeping in view the latest intelligence inputs of terror threats, with specific targeting of the Amarnath Yatra, and given the prevailing security situation in the Kashmir Valley, in the interest of safety and security of the tourists and Amarnath Yatris, it is advised that they may curtail their stay in the Valley immediately and take necessary measures to return as soon as possible,” the administration said in an advisory.