Staff Reporter

Heavy rush at Haj House on last day of submission of applications

Record 9,225 applications received this yearHaj Committee quota is one lakh pilgrimsOnly 4,955 from State to be selected.

HYDERABAD: Draw of lots (qurrah) for the Haj 2006-II has become a certainty with a record number of 9,225 applications pouring in. As the deadline for submission of applications ended at 5 p.m on Tuesday, the Haj House saw heavy rush of pilgrims.

All through the day, there was hectic activity with the pilgrims frantically filling up applications formsand completing other formalities. Even on the last day, the State Haj Committee issued 300 applications. As many as 1,700 applications were filed on Tuesday itself.

The quota fixed by the Central Haj Committee for Andhra Pradesh is 4,955 as per the 2001 census. But till yesterday, 8,000 applications were received and the number swelled to 9,225 by Tuesday evening.

"There is no way we can stop issue of applicationforms as today is the last day for both issue and submission of forms," said Irfan Shareef, Assistant Secretary, Haj Committee.

The Government of India has fixed a quota of 1.47 lakh for the entire country. Of this, the Haj Committee quota is 1 lakh and the remaining is allotted to private tour operators. Uttar Pradesh has the highest quota of 21,800, followed by West Bengal (14,354), Bihar (9,731) and Maharashtra (7,284).

The Union Territory of Dadra Nagar Haveli has the least quota of just five.

Many applicants are of the view that the State Haj Committee should not have issued 13,000 applications when the quota is just 4,955.

"They should follow the first come first serve principle and like the railways adopt the RAC rule", a pilgrim said.

Meanwhile the Haj Committee said it will inform shortly about the draw of lots after consultation with the Central Haj Committee.