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Hajj 2023: Excessive amount charged by Haj Committee of India shocks pilgrims

There are a total of 22 Hajj embarkation points and pilgrims from all embarkation points except Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru have been charged an excessive amount by Haj Committee of India. Read More

Wednesday May 10, 2023 12:07 PM, Zohair M Safwan, ummid.com

Hajj 2023: Excessive Airfare charged by Haj Committee of India shocks pilgrims

Mumbai: The Hajj pilgrims from India are in shock after the Haj Committee of India charged excessive amount and air ticket price to those going to Makkah from different embarkation points other than Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

22 Embarkation Points

“There are a total of 22 embarkation points and pilgrims from all embarkation points except Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru have been charged an excessive amount ranging from a minimum of Rs. 52,000 to a maximum of Rs. 97,000”, Ayaz Ansari, a Haj Pilgrim, told ummid.com.

As per the total Hajj amount charged by the Haj Committee of India, the pilgrims going for Hajj 2023 from Mumbai embarkation point are charged Rs 3,04,843/-, those who have opted Bengaluru embarkation point are charged Rs 3,03,921/- and the one going from Hyderabad are being charged Rs 3,015,173/-.

However, pilgrims who have selected Gaya embarkation point are charged a huge Rs. 4,00,361/-, pilgrims from Srinagar have been asked to deposit Rs. 3,95,020/- and charges for the pilgrims from Aurangabad have been fixed as Rs. 3,92,738/-.

“Even the pilgrims embarking from Delhi are being charged Rs. 3,44,867 – which is about Rs 41,000 more than what the pilgrims from Bengaluru are being charged”, Ansari said.

Shock, disbelief

Shocked by the excessive charges the Haj Committee of India (HCI) is charging as many as 1,000 pilgrims from Nagpur and Aurangabad are now demanding from the government to allow them to change the embarkation point.

“More than 1000 pilgrims from Aurangabad have sent letters to the Haj Committee of India with a request to change their embarkation point (EP)”, Dr Rahimuddi of Khidmate Hujjaj Committee Aurangabad said.

Haj Committee of India CEO Imtiyaz Qazi has confirmed receiving request letters by speed post and via e-mail.

“There are a total of 2,100 and 1,600 pilgrims who had respectively chosen Nagpur and Aurangabad as their embarkation points for Hajj 2023. Most of them now wish to embark from Mumbai”, he told reporters.

Request letters are also being sent to Ministry of Minority Affairs which also looks after Hajj affair since 2014.

Commenting on the matter, Asif Khan, member of the Nagpur Haj Committee, said until this year, the cost of arrangements at seasonal EPs such as Nagpur and Aurangabad used to be divided equally among all 22 centres.

“The HCI decided to levy cost based on actual expenses at each EP. Earlier, each pilgrim used to pay an additional Rs 1,000 or 2,000 to shoulder the burden on those at other EPs,” he said.

The Haj Committee officials have refused to comment on the issue. However, sources close to the body said the excessive charges are being levied on the pilgrims to recover the expenses which will incur for the staff salary and special arrangements to be made at different embarkation points during the Hajj season.

Anger against Haj Tour Operators

Meanwhile, the reduction in the quota of the pilgrims going through Haj Committee of India has also invited the ire of the people.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighting the issue, former minister and Maharashtra Congress leader Arif Naseem Khan said that earlier the pilgrim quota given to the Haj Committee of India (HC) India was over 200,000, which has now been slashed to around 150,000.

“The rest of the quota has been passed onto the private tour operators who are charging exorbitant amounts ranging from Rs 500,000 to Rs 10,00,000 per head for the Haj pilgrimage”, he said in his letter to the PM.

Scam in hotel bookings

Khan claimed that the pilgrims are also being denied other benefits like the 'qurbani' and 'adahi' charges that were given pre-2019, but when he raised the matter with the HCI Members, they informed lack of authority as all their powers were withdrawn by the Ministry of Minority Affairs.

The Congress leader also hinted at a scam in the hotel bookings in Makkah and Madina in Saudi Arabia for the pilgrims, why the subsidised tickets offered by Saudi Arabian Airlines are now booked through private airlines at higher rates.

"Due to this, there is anger in the pilgrims and the Muslim community in Maharashtra and all over India. I request you to personally look into the matter and give suitable directions to the concerned ministry," Khan appealed to the PM.

The Haj 2023 will start from June 26 and the first of the flights to Saudi Arabia from different parts of India shall commence from May 21.


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