STATE TIMES NEWS JAMMU: Expressing grave concern on people’s sufferings due to continuous closure of J&K national highway for past few days, deplorable condition of passengers stranded at various places and exorbitant air-travel fares, the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries (JCCI) and Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) on Monday urged the Governor to intervene into the matter for resolving the issue at the earliest. Briefing media persons here at Chamber House, Rakesh Gupta, President JCCI and Nasir Hamid Khan, Senior Vice-President KCCI, discussed chaotic situation prevailing in the State due to continuous closure of highway. In a joint statement issued here, the Chamber leaders said that the prevailing situation has adversely affected the population causing widespread disruptions in schedules besides throwing normal life out of gear. “The supply of essential commodities including medicines has been adversely affected. Tourism sector has also suffered heavy losses causing a major setback to economy,” they said. “Stranded passengers in Delhi, Jammu & Srinagar are left with no alternative than to pay exorbitant air-fares to reach homes. Although, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) had already requested the Governor, Satya Pal Malik to arrange additional flights and sorties for stranded passengers, the Government failed to control predatory pricing policy so far,” the Chamber leaders asserted, adding that the Government, instead of protecting consumers, has become a beneficiary of the exploitation by having a substantial GST share in ticket-cost and heavy taxation of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF). Urging the State administration for mitigating sufferings of people without any further delay, the Chamber leaders suggested a number of measures including invoking Essential Services Act to control air-fares in line with the Civil Aviation distance based pricing policy, negotiating bulk ticket purchases or chartering flights, providing food and accommodation to stranded passengers, withdrawal of all taxes and levies on air-travel, setting-up Crisis Centers at Delhi, Jammu and Srinagar etc for rescuing suffering passengers. Others present in the meeting included Rajesh Gupta (Sr Vice President JCCI), Rajeev Gupta (Jr Vice President JCCI), Manish Gupta (Secretary General JCCI), Gaurav Gupta (Secretary JCCI) and Rajesh Sharma (Chairman J&K Kissan Council).
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