Delhi-based travel agency ‘cheats’ Umrah pilgrims

ANANTNAG: Scores of people who performed Umrah through a Delhi-based travel agency Orient Travels have accused its operators of cheating and causing them trouble during the journey.
The travel agency after opening up its office in Anantnag town few months ago published advertisements in various local dailies promising best facilities to the Umrah aspirants all through the journey.
After coming across the advertisements, dozens of aspirants decided to perform Umrah through the agency. “We contacted the local agent of the agency in Anantnag who assured us of all the facilities during the journey. After his assurances, we submitted our passports and other necessary documents,” a delegation of pilgrims who performed Umrah through this travel agency told Kashmir Reader.
They, however, said that the claims made by the travel agent proved false later. “Problems started at Jeddah after the travel agent refused to provide us SIM cards which were promised to us free of cost in the package. We later had to buy the SIM cards on our own for 25 Riyals after two days,” they said.
In the holy city of Makkah, they said, though the accommodation was a bit better, the food served was of substandard quality.
“The worst came in Madinah as the travel agency had not even booked any rooms for our accommodation. We arranged our accommodation ourselves later on,” said Rafiq Sarwar, one of the pilgrims.
He said the food served to them during their ten-day stay in Madinah was of very poor quality. “The food wasn’t worth eating. I, many a time, preferred not to have lunch or dinner during out stay in Madinah. The behavior of the two agents deputed with us from Delhi too was rude,” Sarwar said.
He said they even had a quarrel with the travel agents. “The Rs 70,000 package promised that we will be provided free of cost zum-zum water but that did not happen.”
The travel agent Manzoor Ahmad Wani admitted that the facilities during the pilgrimage were not satisfactory. “Yes, the travel agency did not provide the facilities it had promised in the package. I snapped my business ties with the agency only in Madinah and have now tied up with other travel agency,” Wani said told Kashmir Reader.