Haj pilgrims warned of bogus tour operators
Haj & Umrah Tours Organizers\' Association (HUTOA) Hyderabad appealed to the aspiring Haj pilgrims to be cautious about booking their Haj tours with private tour operators. HUTOA general secretary Abdul Razzak Qamar said, “The Ministry of Minority Affairs has allotted quota for Haj pilgrims applying through category 1 and 2 from AP and Telangana States.
Hyderabad: Haj & Umrah Tours Organizers' Association (HUTOA) Hyderabad appealed to the aspiring Haj pilgrims to be cautious about booking their Haj tours with private tour operators. HUTOA general secretary Abdul Razzak Qamar said, “The Ministry of Minority Affairs has allotted quota for Haj pilgrims applying through category 1 and 2 from AP and Telangana States. The Telangana State has been allotted a total quota of 2,665 split into 1,665 under category 1 and 1,000 persons under category 2.”
Andhra Pradesh has a total quota of 546 pilgrims (196 in category 1 and 350 in category 2), he said.
The Ministry issues one license every year with one-year validity to eligible PTOs. Category 1 refers to private Haj Tour Operators having more than 7 registration of Haj licenses from Ministry of Minority Affairs while PTOs with less than seven licenses are listed under Category 2. Under category 1, Telangana State has 17 PTOs of which 16 operators have a quota of 98 pilgrims. In category 2 where there are 20 PTOs in the State, each PTO has been granted a quota of 50 pilgrims.
According to HUTOA joint secretary Mohammed Masiuddin, the tax burden on every pilgrim has increased from this year and every pilgrim was required to pay 5 per cent GST to Indian government and an additional 10 per cent tax payable to Saudi Arabian government in the form of VAT (5%) and municipal tax (5%).
The association warned aspiring pilgrims to verify the authenticity of their tour operator by demanding their operating license certificate, which is issued by the Ministry and needs to be renewed every year. Pilgrims can also check the list of genuine Private Tour Operators which is uploaded on the website of the association (www.hutowah.com) as well as the website of Ministry of Minority Affairs (http://haj.gov.in/ base/pto.php).
The list can be directly accessed via hyperlink http://haj.gov.in/pto/ Haj2018/pto_allocation_2018.pdf
The association has been undertaking awareness campaigns for the last two years and aims to bring awareness among pilgrims. This year, Hajis have to follow new guidelines and make their Haj payment account-to-account i.e. directly from the pilgrim's account to the operator's account, and cash payments are not accepted.