Srinagar:-The Travel Trade Fraternity of Kashmir (TTF) has accused SASB of providing only a very limited ticket quota to the valley based Travel agents.
In a press conference, the Heads of Travel and Trade bodies, said that only a very limited quota, fixed to the associations is allotted to them just a few days before the beginning of the Amarnath Yatra. The timing of the allotted tickets is very late due to much most Yatris have to face a lot of inconveniences as they arent able to return back on the same day. They also alleged that the SASB was playing favourites by selling more than 70% of the tickets either online or offline at a high premium to the travel operators outside the valley.
We only get a small percentage of the tickets. The rest of the tickets are sold to outside travel agents who in turn sell them at exorbitant rates, said Mr Manzoor Pakhtoon of JKTA
The SASB has not laid down any regulations for outside operators. Most of these travel operators sell these tickets at very high rates and earn huge benefits. While as the valley travel agents have to go through a tedious process.
In a circular issued by the SASB, the Travel Trade Associations have been asked to submit Income Tax records, Criminal Proceeding records if any etc. of their members as well aslegality of the associations.
Asking to submit such documents is a form of harassment for our members. Such a tedious process will be detrimental to our business. These rules and regulations have been framed only for the Kashmir based Associations and Stake Holders. This clearly shows that it is a form of discrimination, said ATOAK president, Mr Rauf Tramboo.
This is a pre-planned strategy to make our flourishing businesses stagnant. We wont provide any records to the SASB, said Mr Ibrahim Siah of TASK
Helicopter-ticketing for the yatra has been turned into a mafia due to nexus between the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) officials and the tour operators of other states.Our business is hurting and since these tour operators sell these tickets at extremely high rates, tourism in Kashmir is also earning a bad name, Mr Siah added further
The Fraternity demanded that a majority of the share of helicopter tickets be given to the local tour operators. 80 per cent share in the helicopter tickets quota for the Amarnath Yatra should be given to the Valley-based tour operators as Jammu-based tour operators do not provide any share of helicopter tickets for Vaishno Devi to us, they said.
The heads of the Travel Trade Bodies have pledged to suspend their operations if their grievances remain unaddressed. They want the SASB to issue the ticket quota without any preconditions and honour all the associations recognized by the Department of Tourism in the last 3 years.
In their press meet, the Trade Bodies also demanded that the SASB should issue tickets with morning timings and a same day return to them. KOs reporter couldnt get a copy of the ticket distribution records as there are no records available since most non-profit and non-commercial associations simply facilitate their members and their clients without any monetary benefit to the associations.
The trade bodies also demanded that no quota be given to the outside valley travel operators. They sought Governor’s personal intervention in the matter and take due note of their grievances and addressed them on a priority basis.
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