Probe body formed to identify irregularities against 126 agencies
Shah Alam Nur: Widespread allegations of corruptions and anomalies have been intensified against 126 Hajj agencies in the country growing up concern to the hajj pilgrims and their relatives.
Meanwhile, the religious affairs ministry has formed two high level probe bodies with a view to investigate into the matter.
One of the committees is headed by Joint Secretary (Audit) Zahir Ahmed, while another is headed by Joint Secretary (Administration) Delawara Begum. Both the probe bodies are expecting to start their performance soon.
Hajj pilgrims complained that, they faced extreme sufferings due to lack of providing good quality and hygienic foods and suitable accommodation facilities. Many hajj pilgrims were forced to stay in a room thickening, where they faced trouble for want of necessary bathrooms.
According to the Religious Ministry, Makkah Hajj mission has received around 85 complaints, while Bangladeshi pilgrims submitted a number of complaints to the authorities concerned seeking proper investigation and exemplary punishments against the guilty hajj agencies.
Anisur Rahman, Secretary of the religious affairs Ministry told The Daily Industry that, “we have received a number of allegations against 126 hajj agencies, who were involved with huge corruptions and irregularities. The allegations have been come through diplomatic bags. After verifying the allegations, the probe bodies will move forward to investigate the matters.”
The ministry sources said, some 598 agencies out of 1,200 participated in the hajj management this year. As per the statistics, around 21 percent of the total agencies are involved with the misdeeds. The percentage is higher than last year.
Some 528 agencies took part in the hajj management last year. At that time, the government received allegations against 120 agencies for different corruptions and anomalies, which was 19 percent compared to the present statistics.
ABM Amin Ullah Nuri, Joint Secretary of the concerned ministry said, some 38 agencies were brought under punishment last year on charge of faulty activities. Allegations against some agencies are still under trial in court, while some others have already been resolved.
Maksudur Rahman, Bangladesh Councilor at Mecca Hajj Mission said “We have already sent all documents of allegations to the diplomatic bags. Within short time, it will arrive to the concern department.”
After the scrutiny, 86 complaints have been received for investigation. A number of such allegations were also resolved by negotiations at Mecca and Medina during the hajj, he added.
Shahadat Hossain Taslim, President of Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) said “As per my knowledge, these are not major complaints. Such allegations almost come against some agencies on behalf of the pilgrims. But, there is nothing for concern.”
He said, hajj agencies try to provide good services and hassle free hajj management. Hajj agencies’ weaknesses are removing day by day.
According to the National Hajj and Umrah policies, if the irregularities in hajj management are proved, the concerned ministry can provide various types of punishments including cancelling and suspending of the licenses and forfeiting of the security money.