Date: May 10/11, 2009
The Indian Embassy
Subject: Deficiency in service, cheating, seizure of passport, threatening by Mr. R Pradhan of Shreshtha Holidays, our travel agent and risking lives of pilgrimages.
I Rajendra Harsh having passport no. H3325395 with my family members, my wife, Mrs Anjana Harsha, passport no. H3325387 daughter, Miss Soumyaa Harsha passport no. H0227477 and my mother in law, Mrs Tara Joshi passport no. H3925992 have travelled in a group of 55 persons organized by Shreshtha Holidays having offices in Mumbai, New Delhi and Kathmandu and would like to convey the following:
1. Shreshtha holidays charged us Rs 72,000 per person for a trip from Kathmandu to Kathmandu which included our travel to Kailash and Mansarovar, including boarding, lodging and conveyance which included stay at Shangri la hotel in Kathmandu and 2/3 star hotels on the way and camping with bio-toilet during Kailash parikrama. They also assured us that all the land cruisers by which we will be travelling will have oxygen and our group will be provided with doctor with all first aid medical facilities.
2. We reached Kathmandu on 29th May and started our yatra on 31st May. On 30th Mr. R. Pradhan told us that you all will need a special Jacket and for which he would charge us Rs. 450/- per person. He purposely told us just on the eve of departure so that we can not check the rates outside. Later on I came to know that if we would have bought from market it would cost us lesser than the rent he was charging. He also told us on that evening that you need to buy Chinese currency of at least 500/- Yuans if you need pithu during the Yatra and 1000/- Yuan if you need to have both the horse and pithu but this booking he will not do here and will do it during Yatra only. He converted our money Indian Rs to yuan on 30th May in night at the cost of Rs 8/- per yuan. I do not know he had license to do this or not and now I am sure he charged much higher rate than what he should have charged from all of us. Our group must have bought from him at least 40,000 to 50,000 yuans. At that time we never doubted him because it was starting but when I look back I understand that his briefing us at last minute and selling yuan, renting jackets was with shear ulterior motive to cheat us. Our whole group told Mr. Pradhan that we are vegetarian and we do not take onion and garlic. Mr. pradhan assured us the same and told that they will not even carry onion and garlic.
3. On the very first day(31/05/2009) on the way to Kodari he told us that your lives are in danger because ahead on road agitation is going on and villagers have blocked the road and he will negotiate with them so every passanger will have to pay Rs 800/- per person to pay to villagers. His representative Mr. Rawat who was drunk throughout the trip told us that if we do not pay we will have to delay the yatra by one day. We had no choice but had to pay .He took away the money and did not pay anything to villager at least in front of us. I am sure it should have been his responsibility to transport us without any extra charges. He did not inform while booking that it is frequent problem in Nepal and such charges will be extra. He purposely cheated us by creating imaginary problems because when we passed through we did not see any agitating group on the way. Whenever we wanted to talk he was not available and will be seating in some jeep. He would surface only when he wanted some money. We were always left with Sherpas, drivers and one so called captain. Most of them will neither speak English or Hind and we did not know Tibetan or Chinese language.
4. The first day(31/05/2009) we were supposed to cross Chinese border and stay in China but he stopped us at Kodari in Nepal only. In the so called hotel which was worse than a third class lodge had only two toilets and bathrooms for around thirty passengers and the same was the position for balance members of the group. On this first day he did not provide lunch on the way which he was supposed to provide. He did not even provide tea to us in afternoon.
5. Next day(01/06/2009) we were taken to the border of Nepal and China and after crossing the friendship bridge we found that our permit was not available with him. We all had to wait under SUN for nearly 6 hours. He did not provide water, tea and lunch on this day also. On the same day we reached in late evening to Nyalam and he informed us that his food truck has got breakdown and therefore he can not give us dinner also and he did not made any arrangements. It is important to note that such news were always delivered to us through some Sherpa who could not do anything as he did not have any authority. In midnight at 12.00 he woke up and told us that he has arranged Khichadi without any butter, vegetable, pickle or papad. He always use to say us that it is pilgrimage and God makes you to suffer you are not here for food but for bhakti. It is because of me you are getting whatever you have otherwise you will be in horrible position. When we use to argue he will disappear and none of us knew Chinese language so could not communicate anybody ,our permit was with us and visa was not stamped on individual passport and therefore we had no choice but under mental duress had to keep him happy and he exploited us. Because of no lunch last day and no lunch and dinner today two passengers Mr. Vishal Vyas and Mrs. Sadhana Vyas became unconscious and he could not provide doctor or medicine. Luckily we had one doctor who was travelling with us gave some medicine. It was utter negligence and inhumane attitude of Mr. Rawat towards the life of his clients. He neither had medicine and doctor nor had taken it seriously and always use to say have courage such things does happen and you should not bother. In a day or two you will be OK. In Nyalam only my wife also had bad stomach and weakness because of no or improper food and water. After reaching Nayalam we came to know that there is no hot water was available for bathing which he promised to us. He promised us 2 star facilities but here hotel room was shared by around 8-10 person with no attached toilets. There were common toilets which were not clean and had only half partitions. Among 55 of us there were 3 toilets for men and 3 toilets for women and no bathrooms.