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Haj through Haj Committee restricted to once in a lifetime

Tuesday January 22, 2013 11:19:25 PM, Hena Farhat,

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Mumbai: In what is seen as a step closer to phase out the subsidy given to Hajis, the Central government on Tuesday announced to restrict the number of Hajis going to Makkah through the Haj Committee of India to once in a lifetime.

“The government has decided to limit the number of Haj pilgrimages that a person wants to undertake through the Haj Committee to once in a lifetime as against once in five years according to previous rules,” Haj Committee of India CEO Syed Shakir Hussain said while talking to

Under the previous rules a person could go to Haj through the Haj Committee once every five years. Under the new rules, the cap has been enforced on hajis going to haj through the Haj Committee. "The restriction does not apply to those who want to go to haj through private tour operators", Syed Shakir said.

In April this year, the government had told the Supreme Court that it was planning to restrict the number of haj to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah through the Haj Committee of India to “once in a lifetime” as against the existing “once in five years”, in an effort to provide the benefit of subsidy to those applicants who have never performed the Haj.


Earlier, the Supreme Court in its ruling pronunced on May 08, 2012, had directed the government to eliminate the subsidy for Haj pilgrims in the next 10 years.


The SC decision was welcomed by the Muslim community leaders who for long blamed the government of misleading to the nation on Haj subsidy. They said that the haj subsidy instead of benefiting the community in fact goes to the coffer of state carrier Air India.


The clerics and leaders also said that instead of providing subsidies, the Haj committee, an autonomous body under the Indian government responsible for making arrangement for Haj pilgrimage, should be revamped.


They also demanded open tendering of tickets which would result in Air India, which at present has the ticketing monopoly, having to compete with other airlines to attract maximum travellers and giving cheaper tickets.


More than 03 lakh people apply every year to go to haj pilgrimage throgh the Haj Committee of India. However, less than half of them get the chance as the Haj Committee has a quota of just 1,25,000.


Besides this, some 50,000 hajis go to Makkah and Madinah through private tour operators.


About 3.5mn people from all across the world visit the two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah in Saudi Arabia every year to perform haj.







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