SRINAGAR: Al Khuddam Hajj & Umrah Services, a private tour and travel operator for Hajj and Umrah, has been accused of offering poor services by a group of pilgrims who had been on a recent 15-day trip to the holy cities of Makkah and Madina.
Among the pilgrims was the former Kashmir Inspector General of Police Farooq Ahmad. He described the services offered by Al Khuddam as a “great disappointment”.
“I and my wife performed Umrah with Al Khuddam in 2015 and it was a good experience. It was because of this experience that we opted again to go with the same travel agency this year,” Ahmad said.
“But, it was a great disappointment this time. Our group had been sublet to some other agency and all pilgrims were miserable throughout. Personally, I feel very hurt,” he said.
Umar Mehraj, a 29-year-old who performed Umrah with his family, told Kashmir Reader that Al Khuddam offered unhygienic food, an impolite guide, and a hotel located far away from the shrine.
“Once I spotted a cockroach in my dinner,” Umar said.
According to Umar, he complained about the food to the guide, who in turn put the blame on the catering service. “My kids developed an infection and they had to be medicated. After that I decided to have food outside in the nearby restaurants, which cost me 100 riyals a day,” he added.
Another pilgrim, Adil Jerabi of Srinagar, said, “Dallah Ayjjad, the hotel where we put up in Makkah, was at a far distance, unlike the promise made to us. We had paid about Rs 95,000 excluding GST, but it was not worth it. Pilgrims of all category were put up in the same hotel. Those who paid Rs 85,000 were put in the same hotel where those who paid Rs 1,10,000 were kept,” he said.
Sheikh Ashiq, one of the owners of Al Khuddam, said that he will look into the complaints and if the accusations are found to be true, he will get them rectified.
“We have been offering the services since 2001 and never ever were accused of poor services. The guide who was with them is the most polite guy. I don’t think the food was unhygienic. Nothing bad from us is intentional. The quality of services offered also depends upon the package of a pilgrim. Still, I will figure out what actually happened. It will be premature to comment on it, but, yes, if there will be a fault on our side, we will take action to prevent it from happening again,” he said.