SRINAGAR: Hundreds of tourists who were holidaying in Kashmir began leaving the scenic Valley on Saturday after the state government asked them and Amarnath pilgrims to cut short their trip and return to their respective states.
An advisory issued by Jammu and Kashmir home department on Friday had said that militants were planning terror attacks on the Amarnath yatra and that tourists and pilgrims are being asked to leave as early as possible.
Chaotic scenes were witnessed at the Srinagar airport as tourists and pilgrims rushed in to catch flights out of the Valley. Following a directive from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, various airlines are operating additional flights from Srinagar during next two to three days, the official sources here said.
Though several airlines have announced a full fee waiver on rescheduling and cancellation for their flights for the next couple of days, many passengers complained that airfares to and from Srinagar have suddenly surged. Officials of various airlines confirmed this and said that they have increased airfares by 20-25 percent in view of rush in bookings.
While hundreds of tourists and pilgrims struggled to fly out of the Valley, many other visitors headed for home in buses and other vehicles using the Srinagar-Jammu highway. Taxis and private bus operators, too, have increased fares, causing hardships to the fleeing tourists and pilgrims. However, the J&K Road Transport Corporation made its fleet of buses available to Jammu-bound travellers on existing fares. Tourists and pilgrims, while speaking to this newspaper, expressed dismay over being asked to cut short their visit....