Priority in Haj pilgrimage will be given to those who have applied continuously for three years, said Environment Minister T.P.M. Mohideen Khan.

“They need not go through the process of lot selection. Only others will be selected through lot,” he told the Assembly while replying to Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi member D. Ravikumar, who wanted the government to take steps to increase the number of Haj pilgrims from Tamil Nadu.

The Minister said the quota for every State was allocated based on the population of Muslims as per the 2001 census. Tamil Nadu's allocation for 2009 was 2,700 seats. But it was increased to 3,816, besides eight for children, thanks to the efforts taken by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.

As regards Mr. Ravikumar's suggestion that the Central government could book places for the stay of pilgrims well in advance and collect money from them, the Minister said the government would consider it.

Keywords: Haj pilgrimage

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