Tour operator selling copter ticket held for overcharging Amarnath pilgrims

Now concerned Govt and administration should take strong and swift action against the culprits for looting Hindu devotees on Amarnath Yatra ! – Editor, Hindujagruti

Srinagar : The Jammu and Kashmir police have arrested one local tour operator for overcharging pilgrims on helicopter tickets for a ride from Baltal to the holy cave of Amarnath. They have also filed an FIR on July 10 at the Sonmarg police station for cheating. Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) has also initiated action against erring tour operators for charging pilgrims as high as Rs 15,000 for a ride price for which has been fixed at Rs 3,450 per person to and fro.

Though the SASB has provided online booking facility for the pilgrims, it has identified four tour operators each from Jammu and Srinagar to sell helicopter tickets at their Neelgrath-helipad outlets at Baltal in Sonmarg. Each of the eight outlets at Baltal has been allowed to sell a maximum of 11 tickets daily to those pilgrims who have failed to make online bookings. The SASB has hired the services of two Delhi-based private helicopter companies — Global Vectra Helicopter Ltd and UTAir — to ferry pilgrims at Rs 1,715 one-way. However, it has been found that these operators have been selling each ticket for a whopping Rs 15,000.

Sanjay Kumar of Global Vectra told TOI that the company had been allotted four local tour operators for supply of tickets daily and the police last week arrested one of them for cheating. “We have made a complaint to the SASB to blacklist the errant tour operator,” he said.

When contacted, a senior official of the shrine board said, “We have taken the matter very seriously and initiated action after getting to know that some of the local tour operators are fleecing the pilgrims.”

Another official of the board admitted that this was not something that had come to the fore only this year. A similar cheating case was filed by the J&K cops against a Jammu-based tour operator last year, the official added.

Source : TOI

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