State to bear 50 per cent of their airport user charges, if GMR refuses to waive amount

The government will bear the cost towards 50 per cent of the airport user-charges of Haj pilgrims if the GMR authorities don’t waive them, said Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy.

He was addressing Haj pilgrims at the Haj House here on Wednesday evening before flagging of the first batch, which left for Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

While the pilgrims were bearing 50 per cent of the user charges, the GMR authorities were requested to waive the rest. In case the latter refuse to oblige, the government would pay the user charges amounting to Rs.955 per pilgrim. Government will incur Rs.78 lakh on this count for all the 8,000 pilgrims, Mr. Reddy said.

Haj panel’s budget doubled

Mr. Reddy, who spoke in halting Urdu, said he considered himself fortunate enough to see off the first batch of pilgrims proceeding on the consecrated journey. He asked them to pray for the well-being and prosperity of all the people in the State.

With a view to providing better facilities to the Hajis, the government had doubled the budget of the Haj Committee from Rs.1 crore to Rs.2 crore this year, he said.

Minorities Welfare Minister Mohd. Ahmadullah thanked the Chief Minister for raising the Haj Committee budget and urged the pilgrims to pray for the health of Mr. Reddy.

Earlier, S.A. Shukoor, Special Officer, Haj Committee, welcomed the pilgrims.

Rajya Sabha member, V. Hanumantha Rao, sought to politicise the occasion by asking the pilgrims to pray for early solution of the Telangana issue.

Mufti Khaleel Ahmed briefed the pilgrims on the importance of the pilgrimage. The pilgrims were transported to the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport through special RTC buses.

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