Haj applications to be distributed from today
A pilgrim from India can enjoy the government’s Haj subsidy only once in lifetime. The Central Haj Committee decision to deny any more chances to those who had gone for the Haj under government supervision before has come into effect from this year.
State Haj Committee chairman Kottumala T.M. Bapu Musliar said those who had performed the Haj in the government category would never be considered for the pilgrimage again.
The distribution of applications for this year’s Haj pilgrimage will begin on Tuesday. Applications will be available at Collectorates, Wakf Board offices, and the Haj Committee offices at Kozhikode and Karipur.
Filled in applications will be accepted from Wednesday. The last date to apply will be March 20.
Explaining the reforms brought about by the Central Haj Committee, Mr. Bapu Musliar said that only first-timers would be considered for the above-70 reservation category.
Those above 70 years of age should not have performed the Haj before and should necessarily have an assistant to avail themselves of the reservation. The assistant too should not have performed the Haj before.
Those accompanying women as Meharam too should not have performed the Haj before. The government, however, has relaxed the rules on Meharam.
The new rules have included grandsons and nephews as Meharam.
This year’s Haj fare is yet to be announced by the Haj Committee. Last year, green category applicants had paid Rs.1.65 lakh and Azizia category applicants, Rs. 1.33 lakh.
“The amount may slightly go up this year. However, we don’t expect a drastic rise,” said the Chairman.
Mr. Bapu Musliar reiterated his demand that the Haj quota for the States be fixed on the basis of the number of applications and not on the basis of the State’s population.
Kerala, though not high in population, has the largest number of applicants for the Haj in the country. Out of the 49,403 applicants last year, only 8,400-odd could perform the Haj. Kerala had the largest waitlist of nearly 41,000 Haj aspirants last year.
As many as 8,830 pilgrims had gone to Makkah through the Karipur airport under government supervision last year.