LDF government in Kerala on Wednesday asked the Centre to stop the practice of alloting ‘Haj pilgrim quota’ for private groups, saying it has led to irregularities.

The selection of pilgrims for Haj should be made only through the State Haj Committees and priority should be given to persons above 60-years who have not made it to Haj even once, State Local Administration Minister Paloli Mohammed kutty told the assembly.

Mr. Mohammedkutty, also in charge of State Haj Committee, was replying to a calling attention motion on taking steps to solve the problems faced by Haj pilgrims due to the allocation of the Haj quota to private agencies instead of allocating it through the State Haj Committees.

Mr. Mohammedkutty said 38,000 persons were in the (HAJ) ’waiting list’ in the state. The State has repeatedly asked the Centre to stop the practice of allocating Haj quota for private groups which started in 1996, he said.

Raising the issue, A M Yousuf (CPI(M)), said the new system of allocating Haj pilgrim quota to private agencies has resulted in exploitation by private groups.

Quoting media reports, Mr. Yousuf also referred to the alleged corruption in the allocation of quota for Haj pilgrims in the country and made some remarks against Minister of State for Railways E Ahamed, who was the Minister of State for External Affairs during the previous UPA government, which drew protests from IUML members. Speaker K Radhakrishnan said the remarks relating to Mr. Ahamed would be expunged.

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