Pahalgam traders offer sops, taxi to pilgrims

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Srinagar, May 9: Close on the heels of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) offering various packages to yatris undertaking two-month-long pilgrimage to the holy shrine of Amnarnath starting from June 18, the Pahalgam traders also offered cut throat rates to them.

The Taxi Association said it will render free transport services to Sadhus and other weaker sections of devotees from Pahalgam to Chandanwari.

The Pahalgam traders have offered cut throat rates to the pilgrims undertaking pilgrimage through the traditional route and sought support of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) in carving out a bigger role for the local business community.

The traders during their meeting with Chief Executive Officer, SASB, Arun Kumar last evening said the Pahalgam Hotel Association was ready to slash down tariff drastically, bringing it at par with the rates of tentage accommodation.

They appealed that no one should be stopped from staying in their hotels during the yatra period.

The Chairman of the Association, Javed Burzza said the hoteliers have extended hospitality to the yatris, as the pilgrimage has been the only silver lining during the peak of militancy when tourist influx to the valley was almost zero.

''It will not be an exaggeration to say that our sustenance during that period was due to Amarnathji pilgrimage,'' he added.

The Association said it was not averse to having the Nunwan base camp but it should not be at the cost of hoteliers, whose business has suffered immensely during the past few years.

They complained that the security exercise had created various obstacles for carrying out their avocations and called for its streamlining.

Dr Kumar reiterated that the Board wants massive local participation in the yatra and it will continue to remove the obstacles in this regard.

The Pahalgam Taxi Association stated that it had been rendering free transport services to Sadhus and other weaker sections of devotees from Pahalgam to Chandanwari.

''We will continue to do so as our association with this yatra is deep and old,'' the president of the Association said.

The Chief Executive Officer suggested setting up of a Tourist Reception Centre in Nunwan Base Camp with representatives of hoteliers and other associations for taking care of the interests of the pilgrims during the yatra.

UNI

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