Kashmir valley is witnessing a significant increase in tourist arrivals but at the same time “fraud” is on the rise.
Tourists and tourism professionals alike are happy, but with this bumper season comes complaints of overcharging and fraud. People associated with tourism say that the process of nexus has increased which is damaging the image of Kashmiri hospitality.
A delegation of Tourists while speaking to KIF alleged that there is a complete nexus between Shikara owners and showrooms who work on commissions and are robbing many tourists.
We came across many such Shikara owners who are taking an undue advantage on the rates either by overcharging or getting commission from showrooms. One who can prefer the shopping of their own choice are being forced to get the same from particular showroom in the lake which is totally wrong and unethical,” said Rajesh Goud from Andra Pradesh.
They further added that Shikara owners operating at various ghats particularly ghat 17 and 10 A of Dal lake are charging Rs 5000-6000 for site seeing and because of these things forcing us to have bad impact of tourism sector in the valley.
I am a stranger here in “CashMir” and don’t know anything about this place. I agreed to pay Rs 5500 for the five spot seeing to a Shikara owner but fortunately, a Kashmiri youth informed me about the actual rate that I was supposed to pay”, said Tota Naidu who was on family vacations adding that tourist police must check these elements who indulge in exploitation and loot.
Meanwhile, DySP Tourism Enforcement police, Sandeep Kour said that the department also received complaints of overcharging which is being looked into by the police enforcement teams.
While admitting the complaints of overcharging and fraud, Kour added that addressing the grievances of Tourists is first priority of our department.
“I personally request public to inform us whenever they feel such illegal activities of overcharging & frauds’ going on as department is always on the toes to take stern action against such people”, Kour added.
Over the recent years, there have been complaints that tourists were being overcharged and exploited by transporters, hoteliers, and other service providers during peak season in Kashmir creating a negative impact on the tourism sector.
Pertinently, Last week Tourism Department during the checking slapped fine on two leading five star hotels of the valley, Taj Vivanta and Lalit Grand Palace for charging exorbitant rates and other service deficiencies.