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Scam of 581 Crore in HCOI, Are Both Govt. and Haji’s Cheated?

Afroz Alam Sahil, BeyondHeadlines

Haj Committee of India (HCOI), A body formed by act of Parliament to render services to Indian Haj Pilgrims is cheating both the Indian Government and the Pilgrims.

In year 2011 alone, the HCOI spent 581 crore rupees more in catering to Hajis. According to private tour operators the HCOI spent around Rs 46520 per Haj Pilgrim. In this amount Rs 24000 extra were spent on Airfare which was paid by government of India and rest on facilities in Mecca and Medina. The rest amount was paid by Pilgrims themselves.

According to Private tour operators the HCOI charged around Saudi Riyal 1691 extra from each pilgrim.

Let us understand the Issue in Detail… 

The Issue…

Haj Committee of India (HCOI) is enacted by the Parliament to render service to the Pilgrims without profit hence no one can challenge HCOI in the Consumer court. But the records presented by the Haj Committee in its guidelines issued in 2011 suggests otherwise. http://hajcommittee.com/foreignratesjul2011r.pdf .

It appears that something is fishy in the whole process from the famous Haj Subsidy to the overcharging in the name of Extra Facility, from foreign exchange remittance to the accommodations in Mecca and Medina. The case of Missing Pilgrims is another chapter in the making.

Three Categories of the Pilgrims are categorized on the basis of services provided to them as Green, White and Aziziya. The category is mainly on the basis of a distance between the residence of the pilgrims and the holy Mosques Viz. the holy mosque in Mecca and Masjid-e-Nabvi in Medina, besides few other luxury of life.

Green Category means the residence of the pilgrims will be nearer to the Holy Mosque and the Masjid-e- Nabvi than White and Aziziya Category. Majority of the Indians are poor and therefore opt for Aziziya category which is the lowest one and is located outside Mecca.

Overcharging…

The press release of 2011 mentioned the expenses of Rs.1, 02,754. (Saudi Arabian Riyals- SR-6911.5 equals to Rs.84275+ 30000 taken in advance).

Press release elaborated the expenses at different places of the Haj Guidelines in Saudi Riyals-SR- as

Accommodation in Aziziya & Transportation to Makkah 2620.00
Medina Accommodation   500.00
Foreign Exchange remitted to Pilgrims on Departure   2100.00
Total 5220.00

HCOI mentioned total of Rs. SR 6911.5, where as the expenses mentioned is of SR-5220, the difference of SR-1691 is not mentioned anywhere in the Haj Guidelines. Why is it so?

We came to know that the Saudi Government charged SR-942 or 1043 or 1089 depending upon the rout for all the services it provides to the pilgrims that includes, Muallims, bus services between Makkah, Madina, Jeddah, Mina Arafat, Tents in Mina, Blanket and Pillows, supply of Zamzam, Transportation of baggages and other services in Mina and Arafat, Muzdalifa, which are same for all the pilgrims from all over the world. Even the Guidelines issued by the HCOI mentioned, “No preferential treatment during the stay in Medina Munawwarah and Mina / Arafat / Muzdalifa during Haj days.”

If we add this figure of SR-942 to SR 5220 that comes to SR- 6162, whereas the HCOI has charged SR- 6911.5 per pilgrim. It means it has overcharged 749.5 per pilgrim that comes to nearly Rs.9000/-.

In a reply to a press report, CEO of HCOI said that they paid SR-600 per pilgrim to South Asian Mossassa, for providing additional facility which is contrary to the information provided in the Haj Guidelines. This amount is paid illegally, if ever paid.

The Haj guidelines book give breakup of even 1000 rupees charged as processing fees then why the break-up of SR-746 (INR 9099) not given?

South Asian Mossassa provides services to 6 Countries i.e. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Afganistan and Nepal. None of the remaining five most of them Muslim Countries pay this SAR 600, except India. Then Why HCOI pay this amount?

Is it approved or sanctioned by the Ministry of Haj, Saudi Arabia? Does Bilateral Agreement between India and Saudi Arabia contain this amount? And finally what kind of additional facilities South Asian Mossassa provides to the Indian Pilgrims?

All the facilities like of Muallims, Tents at Mina, Transportation, Zam Zam canes and others mentioned by the CEO are provided by the Saudi Government in SAR 942. If it is not true then Why this amount is charged by the Saudi Government and what facilities does it provide for that amount?

Important issue is the website of Ministry of External affairs has the bilateral agreement of most of the countries but no mention of the agreement between India and Saudi Govt.

In a reply to RTI regarding Bilateral agreement, MeA said , “It can’t be disclosed as per Saudi norms.”

http://beyondheadlines.in/2012/03/hci-scam-ceo-reply-raises-more-questions/

Myth of Haj Subsidy…

Government Claim- According to reports Government of India provide Subsidy of nearly Rs.57000/- per pilgrims which is mainly the Airfare. In 2011, Government hired chartered flights to ferry nearly 1,25000 Indian Pilgrims, which according to the government comes to Rs.73000/- per pilgrims whereas Haj Committee charged Rs.16000/- that means subsidy of Rs.57000/- per pilgrims.

Whereas the Tour operators of India who provided services to only few thousand pilgrims hired a chartered flights and paid maximum Rs.49,000 per pilgrim. The difference between the tour operators and the government is of Rs. 24000 per pilgrim. (73000- 49000). It means HCOI paid Rs. 24000/- per pilgrim more than required.

If a tour operator can bargain for few thousand pilgrim to Rs.49000/- per pilgrim than the GOI must bargain for 1,25000 to nearly Rs.30,000 per pilgrim.


Accommodation…

For Accommodation in Azizya and transportation between aziziya and Ka’aba Sharif, HCOI charged SR-2620 (SR-2500 Rent + SR-120 Bus Service or transportation charges), whereas the other Indian Tour Operator Paid SR-1000 to SR-1600 per pilgrim as Rent and SR-60 for Bus Service. It means HCOI Is over charging or paying higher than required nearly SR-960 per pilgrim i.e. Rs. 11520.


Foreign Exchange Remittance

Foreign Exchange Remittance can be divided in two part. One is SR-2100/- which are given to the Pilgrims whereas remaining amount is for Accommodation and other services i.e. SR- 4811 (SR- 6911- 2100). HCOI issues tender for SR- 2100, whereas SR- 4811 are remitted directly.

In the year 2011, Inconsistency in the Foreign Exchange is reported. Haj Committee of india granted the contract to IndusInd Bank on 5th July at the rate of Rs.12.1935 for one Saudi Riyals and the rate was around Rs.11.70 to 11.90 in the month of June when all the pilgrims have deposited there total amount. If we calculate total remittance loss to the exchequer it comes to Rs. 25 crore.

  •  Difference of Rs.0.30 (12.19-11.90=0.29)  have cost us Rs. 25,9162500.00

HCOI paid more than required Rs. 0.30 for one Saudi Riyal remittance. Minimum amount paid by a pilgrim is SR – 6911.5. if we calculate additional charged per pilgrim in foreign exchange it comes to around Rs.2000.  (0.30 * 6911)


Conclusion

Effectively total overcharging or paid higher by the HCOI is Rs.46520/- per pilgrim.

Head of account Amount in INR
Subsidized Airfare 24000.00
Over charging in the garb of extra facility    9000.00
Accommodation  11520.00
Foreign Exchange    2000.00
Total 46520.00

It means that HCOI is effectively overcharging or paid more than required Rs. 46250.00 per pilgrim that comes to around Rs. 581 crore. (Total Number of pilgrims arrived in previous years (2011) through Haj Committee of India: 1,24,921)

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