Ministry urged to decrease private Hajj packages cost
E-monitoring system to make management of pilgrims easier
ISLAMABAD—The private intending pilgrims have asked the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony to help decreasing expensive Hajj packages being offered by some Hajj Group Organisers (HGOs). Talking to APP, Muhammad Awais, Hafiz Adnan, the intending pilgrims, who failed to secure a berth in Government Hajj Scheme, urged Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony to take strict action against the HGOs, who are offering unaffordable and expensive packages.
They said various HGOs have started the registration process on exorbitant packages, making impossible for a mediocre to perform Hajj. Their packages are ranging from Rs 500,000 to over two million rupees. Some HGOs are demanding Rs 525,000 to Rs 575,000 for 40 to 42 days package with accommodation of four bed room without Qurbani (Sacrifice).
They said one room accommo- dation was being offered to two hujjaj. Same package with three bed one room accommodation is being offered for upto Rs 650,000. The package includes nearest accommodations in Makkah and Madina Munawwara, fixing tents near Jamrat bridge, nearest accommodations in Madzalfa, Mina and Arafat.
The package includes visits of Makkah and Madina Munawwara. However, they are pledging to provide nearest accommodations from Haram Sharif. HGOs have introduced various packages ranging from 14 days to 43 days. Some organizers were offering from Rs 700,000 to Rs 750,000 for 22 day package excluding Qurbani (Sacrifice) and two way airfare.
Spokesman Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noor Zaman told APP that private operators were offering too costly packages making impossible for even mediocre to afford. The ministry had made sincere effort to slash quota of HGOs by 20 percent with the aim to provide solace to poor people as ministry was offering hajj only for Rs 272,000 that too with meal, transport and other facilities.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony has developed an electronic monitoring system for promptly resolving the inquiries, queries, complaints of Hujjaj during Hajj days. According to official sources on Wednesday, the system, developed by Pakistan Information Technology Board (PITB) will make Hajj management easier for government as well as pilgrims.
The system is a comprehensive portal that comes with a variety of valueadded features, all designed to cater to specific needs of the pilgrims. The first feature is a helpline and which is accessible, both online and through an Android application named ‘Pak Hajj Moavin’ and allows users to register queries, complaints and suggestions in an effective manner.
The pilgrims would be able to register their complaints regarding any difficulties while the staff deputed in the holy land and as well in Pakistan would try to address grievances. Mobile SMS service has been dedicated for dissemination of information. The complaints could also be registered a online complaint registration portal.
The system has an inbuilt mechanism of transferring the unresolved complaint to the next tier of management for taking appropriate measures. A daily situation report is generated for the information of senior management. The system was launched for the first time in Hajj 2013. Hundreds of inquiries/ complaints were registered through this system and were successfully addressed/resolved to the satisfaction of the complainants.