Ministry launches SMS service to help identify fraudulent Hajj companies
The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony has launched an SMS service for all the people desiring to perform Hajj privately this year to identify fraudulent Hajj Group Organizing companies’ (HGOs).
According to the officials from the Ministry, any intending pilgrim, planning to perform the religious ceremony through the HGOs, “should send the first four digits of that particular HGO’s enrollment number from his mobile phone to 8331”, to check the authenticity of the organizing group.
After sending the message to 8331, the person will receive a reply from the authorities regarding the details about the enrollment status of that particular HGO. It would also include the name of the company’s chief executive, address and its allotted quota. The intending pilgrim should also confirm the quota status of HGOs from the ministry’s relevant department, through a phone call to the official numbers.
The ministry says that they won’t be responsible for any fraud with the intending pilgrim, who signs an agreement with any HGO or travel company without confirming first the enrollment status and allocated Hajj quota of his relevant Hajj organizing company.
The ministry has also made it compulsory for the HGOs to deposit 5% of their each private hajj package to the authorities as a performance guarantee.
To further facilitate the Hajj pilgrims during Hajj and to address their complaints properly, the ministry in collaboration with Punjab Information and Technology Board (PITB) has launched an electronic monitoring system (EMS). This system will help the authorities to resolve the inquiries of the pilgrims effectively.