The government appears to be having second thoughts about setting up the new Haj House near the Shamshabad Airport. Though a sum of Rs. 12.50 crore was sanctioned, and of this Rs. 3 crore released, the matter is hanging fire as the State Haj Committee and the Wakf Board have not come to an agreement.

“It is for these two bodies to sort out the issue,” said Minister for Minorities Welfare Syed Ahmedullah.

He was speaking after releasing the application forms for Haj-2014 here on Saturday. Later clarifying the point, Syed Omer Jaleel, Special Secretary, Minorities Welfare Department, said various options were being explored, and that the proposals would be shortly sent to the government. The only advantage of establishing the Haj House near the Airport was convenient transport of pilgrims. On the other hand, pilgrims will have a tough time travelling to the Haj House at Shamshabad for various things before the actual journey.

There was a suggestion to utilise the vacant piece of land on the southern side of the existing Haj House at Nampally for the construction of a new building. The biggest advantage was its central location, Mr. Jaleel said. During the rest of the year, the building could be utilised for imparting education and training for Muslim youth, he said.

Earlier, the Minister promised to provide better facilities to pilgrims this year. Shaikh Mohd. Iqbal, Commissioner, Minorities Welfare, urged pilgrims to exercise patience and imbibe the spirit of sacrifice and selflessness.

Prof. S.A. Shukoor, Special Officer, Haj Committee, said the last date for submission of Haj application forms was March 15. Volunteers will be available at the Haj House to guide pilgrims in filling up forms. The staff of Asra Hospital will be present to provide inoculation and render necessary help.

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