Want police to take assocaition on board while investigating complaints
srinagar: To discuss various issues being faced by Hajj and Umrah operators, Jammu Kashmir Association of Hajj and Umrah Companies (JKAHUC) on Wednesday held its annual interaction meeting with state authorities at Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre here in Srinagar.
All 60 members of the association were present in the meeting. Divisional Commissioner Baseer Ahmad Khan, who was also the chief guest on the occasion, along with Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Central Kashmir, GH Bhat and Director Tourism Mahmood Ahmad Shah represented the government.
The leaders of the association informed government authorities that private companies sent 2000 people for Hajj and 14000 people for Umrah in the previous season.
Highlighting various issues that private Hajj and Umrah operators were facing from several years, JKAHUC President Feroz Ahmad Sheikh requested government authorities for registration of private Hajj and Umrah companies separately, to provide a waiting slot for the pilgrims and direct flights to Saudi Arabia.
“People who have been doing this business from last five to ten years should be recognised separately as Hajj and Umrah operators,” he requested the government authorities.
Sheikh said that pilgrims who arrive from far-flung areas face hardships as they stand for hours at the airport where they assemble pilgrims.
“I would like you to take up the issue with airport authority so as to provide a waiting slot for them inside the airport where we can serve them,” he said.
Sheikh requested Divisional Commissioner Baseer Ahmad Khan for direct flights to Saudi Arabia once a week saying both pilgrims as well as operators face difficulties during the process.
“We have to shift pilgrims from Srinagar to Delhi where they face difficulties in check-outs, collecting baggage and stay in the hotels, and it becomes very hectic. If one international flight is allowed directly from Srinagar it will possibly be a full flight,” he said.
Sheikh also took what he termed an ‘important issue’ with DIG regarding complaints (genuine or bogus) registered by some clients, saying police should involve JKAHUC during enquiry. “Sometimes Hajjis register complaints and we try to address them and even provide them compensation so that the matter does not escalate but sometimes complaints are not genuine and when it reaches the administration we have to suffer,” he said.
He requested police to take JKAHUC into consideration so as to know whether complaints are genuine. In a response to JKAHUC president’s request, DIG GH Bhat said that police does not harass anyone during investigations. He said that police believes JKAHUC, apart from doing religious duties, is doing a business and it should be done in a proper manner so that they do not receive any complaints.
“If you do your business legally, we are with you, and, if you don’t, our canes and law will act,” he said.
“Whenever we receive a complaint we are supposed to investigate… You don’t make mistakes, we won’t receive complaints,” Bhat added.
Baseer Ahmad Khan said that the private companies were doing a noble job and needed to put extra efforts to ensure better services. He called on the association to adopt fair trade practices together with greater transparency and accountability so that any element of fraud is prevented.
“Government will look into the demand for allocating space for Umrah pilgrims at the airport and possibility of starting a weekly international flight from the airport,” he said.