There is a shortfall of 373 seats in the Haj quota for Andhra Pradesh this year. The Haj Committee of India has allotted a quota of 5,764 for the State as against 6,137 last year. However, compared to the original quota of 5,566 based on percentage of Muslim population in the State this year there is a slight increase of 198.

Last year A.P got more quota after redistribution of leftover quota from other States since the number of applicants were 2.80 lakh all over the country. But this year the figure is a staggering 3.10 lakh and hence the fall in quota, officials say. This will be a big disappointment to the intending pilgrims since a record 15,334 persons have applied for Haj this year. The district wise quota has not been finalised yet. Meanwhile, preparations are on for holding the ‘Qurrah' (draw of lots) to select pilgrims for Haj 2012 as scheduled on May 10. A day before the board meeting of State Haj Committee will be held to finalise the nitty-gritty.

Lots will be drawn from among the 15,334 fresh applicants through computer. Already 1418 persons have been confirmed in the two reserved categories. The reserved ‘A' category has 730 persons of 70 years and above and the ‘B' category has 688 persons - those who are applying for the fourth time. There are 24 infants among the applicants from all over the State and 15 of them are from Hyderabad alone. Qurrah for selection of 17 ‘Khadimul Hujjaj' (volunteers) will take place on May 15. They can visit the Haj Committee officer or phone to 23298793.

Keywords: Haj pilgrimage