Mumbai: After Allegations Of Mismanagement, Haj Body Asked To Explain Fees Collected From Pilgrims

Mumbai: After Allegations Of Mismanagement, Haj Body Asked To Explain Fees Collected From Pilgrims

After complaints from Indian pilgrims about crowding in hotel rooms and tents at the recently concluded Haj pilgrimage to the holy cities of Makkah and Medina, community groups in Mumbai have asked the Haj Committee of India (HCI) to explain the alleged mismanagement.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Friday, June 21, 2024, 11:35 PM IST
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Mumbai: After Allegations Of Mismanagement, Haj Body Asked To Explain Fees Collected From Pilgrims | PTI

Mumbai: After complaints from Indian pilgrims about crowding in hotel rooms and tents at the recently concluded Haj pilgrimage to the holy cities of Makkah and Medina, community groups in Mumbai have asked the Haj Committee of India (HCI) to explain the alleged mismanagement. Officials from the HCI were not available for a response to the allegations.

The five-day pilgrimage ended on Tuesday. Pilgrims will start returning to India in the next few days, but messages and reports posted by pilgrims on social media said they faced hardships in accommodation, travel, and food.

The HCI, constituted by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, cares for pilgrims who travel using their quota. Of the 1,75,000 Hajis who traveled from India this year, more than two-thirds took the assistance of the HCI, paying around Rs 3,21,000 each for the tour. The remaining booked their travel through private tour operators who usually charged double the amount.

Trustee of the Jama Masjid, Mumbai's most important mosque, Shuiab Khateeb, has sent an application under the Right To Information Act to the HCI asking how the money charged as fees from pilgrims was spent.

"Five to six people had to share a hotel room, using common kitchens and toilets. Nearly 20 people had to share a kitchen W. There was one toilet for every two rooms. Hajis had to buy their food. We calculated the cost of this accommodation and airfare. We are of the view that the fee paid by the pilgrims was exorbitant compared to the services that were provided. The expenses per pilgrim should not be over Rs two lakh," said Khateeb.

There are also allegations that many employees of the HCI traveled free as part of a special category of pilgrims, called 'Khadim ul Hujjaj'. Pilgrims have complained about lack of cleanliness in the camps, inadequate food, and overcrowding in the tent city in Mina where pilgrims stay for rituals.

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