Touts mafia at shrines of Hazrat Bahauddin Zakariya and Hazrat Shah Ruknuddin Alam are depriving the Punjab government of handsome income by collecting money illegally from visitors through different tricks.

Sometimes, in the name of welfare mess (lunger), “Naat” recitation, or putting particular “Chadir” (Shawl) on shoulders of visiting devotees as mark of welcome gesture. They get money from visitors through persistent requests and appeals although the Auqaf Department has installed money-lockers and deployed officials to care the money-lockers at the shrines.

Devotees Ahmed Nawaz, Muhammad Asif, Talaib and others talking to this agency here Tuesday informed that they often used to visit the shrines.

They added that some persons at the shrines used to persuade them to give donations for welfare mess or put “Chadir” (Shawl) on shoulders as warm welcome and other tricks and then get money through repeated requests. This is illegal practice and government should take notice of the situation as the income had not been deposited in government’s kitty, they said.

Internal sources from Auqaf department on condition of anonymity informed that there were some touts, deputed illegally by some Auqaf department officials. They used to earn thousands of rupees per day and thus the amount was allegedly divided among Auqaf Department officials and touts.

Zonal Administrator Auqaf Shahid Virk while talking to APP informed that the department has issued clear instructions in written form to the visitors to put money into money-lockers only instead of giving donation to anybody.