Noida tourists cry foul over Shikara overcharging, authorities vow strict action
Post by Aatif Qayoom on Friday, September 8, 2023
Srinagar, Sep 07: A group of tourists from Noida visiting the picturesque Dal Lake in Srinagar have raised their voices against what they perceive as blatant overcharging by shikara owners.
According to the aggrieved tourists, they were shocked to be charged a whopping rupee 6,000 for a mere 90-minute ride on two shikaras, a price significantly higher than the government-approved rates. The official rate stands at approximately rupees 770 per hour for the first hour and rupees 300 per hour thereafter.
One of the tourists, Ravanshi, spoke to Rising Kashmir and shared her disappointment over the experience. She explained that they were on a family tour to explore the beauty of Dal Lake when they fell victim to what they believed was a shikara owner's deceptive pricing scheme. Despite their pleas and efforts to inform the boat operators about the government-approved rates, their requests fell on deaf ears.
A senior official from the tourist police expressed his regret at the situation, terming it unfortunate. He assured that strict action would be taken against those found guilty of overcharging visitors. He further revealed that this year alone, significant fines had been imposed on such erring individuals, with refunds also provided to affected tourists. FIRs have been filed against shopkeepers involved in such practices.
Another tourist, Devak, lamented that Kashmir's reputation for hospitality was being tarnished by such dishonest practices, sending the wrong message to the world.
The officer reassured the public that their personnel were stationed at every tourist spot, ensuring prompt action against offenders. He confirmed that they had already reached out to the tourists who had been allegedly overcharged by the Shikara owners and promised that strict measures would be taken.
An official from the tourism department stated that they would investigate the tourists' claims and, if found to be valid, would consider cancelling the licenses of the shikara owners involved.
The department has already taken steps to display the government-approved rate list at various Ghats and urged tourists to abide by these rates. They also emphasized that tourists encountering any issues could immediately seek assistance from the tourist police, assuring swift action against any wrongdoers.