Anomalies in Chopper fares for Machail Pilgrimage!
Paddar – The land of Sapphire is also famous as the land of Gods and Goddesses.
It is also known not only in the state but also in the neighbouring states for its famous pilgrimages particularly Chandi Mata, Machail. Every year during the month of August, lacs of pilgrims drawn from within and outside the state, pay obeisance at the holy temple of Mata Chandi, Machail. The pilgrims have to travel a distance of about 32 kms on foot from the base motorable point Gulabgarh. For last 3 – 4 years Government has taken initiative to engage small chartered flights from base camp Gulabgarh to Holy temple Machail which takes only 7 minutes. The irony of the fate is that while the fare charges for the same distance from base camp Katra to Sanjhi Chat in Katra and from Baltal to Holy Amarnath cave, is around Rs. 1500 and Rs. 2890 per head for to and fro journey, the flight charges in Paddar from Gulabgarh to Machail are around Rs. 5700 to Rs. 6000 per head – two exorbitant to be justified by the authorities at the helm of affairs. The matter has been brought to the notice of Hon’ble Minister for Sports and Technical Education – Mr. R. S. Chib who visited the area on July 1st 2012 as also to the notice of District Development Commissioner, Kishtwar and MLA Kishtwar who accompanied the Hon’ble Minister. The fact was also brought to the notice of Divisional Commissioner Jammu with the request to remove the anomaly and save the pilgrims from getting fleeced. But nothing has been done in this regard so far. It is reliably learnt that tenders have been accepted by the then District Magistrate, Kishtwar for the above destinations for 2 years which is totally against the law or any financial management. There is great resentment amongst the people in general and pilgrims and youths in particular about the unjustified and highly inflated rates being charged. They smell a rat in this whole fishy affair. Is it sheer discrimination or malafide??