Kerala diaspora in Middle East asked to shun politicians
Thiruvananthapuram, July 8 (IANS) The Kerala Association of Travel Agents (KATA) Sunday asked the Kerala diaspora in the Middle East to shun political leaders who arrive there to meet them because they have failed to come to their help over the prevailing sky high air fares.
"These leaders from various political parties arrive in the Middle East and make good with gifts and also collect money for many of their activities back in the state. But when it comes to genuine needs like ever-increasing air fares, these leaders do nothing," KATA president K.V. Muraleedharan told reporters here.
He pointed out that currently, a one way fare from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia to any of the three Kerala airports (Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode) is as high as Rs. 65,438. July-August is holiday season in the Middle East and there is a huge influx to Kerala.
"The one way fare during August-September from here to Jeddah is as high as Rs.48,130. You should note that a return fare from here to the US is around Rs.60,000 only. This is a clear-cut case of taxing the people from here who eke out a living in the Middle East,"added Muraleedharan.
This phenomenal hike in air fares has come on account of the recently concluded two month-old strike of Air India pilots.
"The two month-old strike has taken a heavy toll on the hapless Keralites in the Middle East and the biggest gainers of this strike are the numerous foreign airlines that operate here. Kerala has a few central ministers and sadly nothing seems to work when it comes to bringing down the air fares," added Muraleedharan.
He added that operation of chartered flights to clear the present rush is not a viable proposition because during this season there will be traffic only in one direction.
"The need of the hour is for the state government to put pressure on the central government to see that Air India which has in its possession several jumbo jet aircrafts to operate with a reasonable fare to clear the rush," said Muraleedharan.
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