by Syed Shadab Ali Gillani
SRINAGAR: In the Kashmir division of the UT, cases of cybercrime and online fraud have been surging with great intensity, causing distress to not only individuals but also organizations and sectors.
In a shocking incident, 11 tourists from Gujarat were apprehended in Gulmarg, the globally acclaimed ski resort located in North Kashmir, as they attempted to sneak through the cableway Gondola using counterfeit and altered tickets.
The authorities were previously stunned when they caught 28 tourists from Mumbai in April, who were found with bogus Gondola tickets in Gulmarg. It was later revealed that these tourists were provided with fake tickets by their tour operator in Mumbai.
The Jammu and Kashmir Cable Car Corporation (JKCCC) caught the Mumbai tourists and confirmed that they had fake tickets provided by their tour manager.
The problem of fake Gondola tickets is affecting the reputation of Gulmarg as a tourist site and the livelihoods of those involved in its tourism industry. Many locals want the ticketing system to return to offline mode to limit illegal sales.
The president of the Guide Association Gulmarg, Manzoor Lone, stated that online ticketing has affected 80 percent of the livelihood of tourist guides in Gulmarg. Many tourist guides and ticket counter employees who previously relied on offline ticketing are now facing difficulties due to the online system.
Although offline ticketing is still happening, it is limited to a VIP quota of 400 reservations, according to Lone. Some guides have been compelled to engage in black marketing of tickets, although they do not support such acts. Manzoor claimed that the issue has been discussed with the higher authorities of the J&K UT, but no action has been taken. A tourist guide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, called on the government to address the matter.
Despite attempts to contact him, Ghulam Jeelani Zargar, CEO of the Gulmarg Development Authority and Managing Director of the JK Cable Car Corporation, did not respond.