J.S. Ifthekhar

State Haj panel issues 10,000 applications

Haj quota for Andhra Pradesh fix at 6,385 Applications to be submitted by June 27Haj Committee members' terms ends on June 12

Hyderabad: Holding of `qurrah' (draw of lots) for Haj 2006 II seems inevitable with applications pouring in excess to the allotted quota. A total of 4,500 applications were received from intending pilgrims till Wednesday, for Haj that would be taking place for the second time this year.

The State Haj Committee had issued a record 10,000 applications. With another 12 days left for submission of applications, the number would be expected to touch the 8000 mark. The Government of India had fixed Haj quota of 6385 for Andhra Pradesh and it is unlikely that it would be increased.

Last year a similar situation arose and the State Haj Committee decided to hold qurrah for confirmation of seats. However, following protest, the move was dropped. Subsequently, the Central Haj Committee enhanced the AP quota to 6047 after distributing the surrendered quota of other States and all the applicants had been accommodated.

Holding `qurrah'

This year there is an unprecedented rush for Haj applications. The Haj Committee had to procure the applications for the second time after 5000 applications were already exhausted within a week after they were released on May 27. "We don't know how many applications will be submitted by June 27. But going by the trend holding of qurrah appears inevitable," said chairperson of Haj Committee Ghouse Mohiuddin.

Meanwhile, a piquant situation had arisen with the term of the chairperson drawing to a close. The term of the Haj Committee members had already ended on June 12. Mr. Mohiuddin, who is a member, there had been demand for his removal from certain quarters. However, the Haj Committee Act, 2002 clearly stated that the term of office of the chairperson should be 3 years. Mr. Mohiuddin was unanimously elected on July 17, 2003 and the GO notifying his election was issued on July 25, 2003. Therefore, he could continue in office till July 25.

Since the present Haj Committee was constituted by the Telugu Desam government, there would be demand from Congress circles for its dissolution. However, there was no move made by the government for reconstituting the 15-members Haj Committee yet.

"I have no intention to continue a day longer if government doesn't want me", says Mr. Mohiuddin.

Since the pilgrimage season had already commenced, many feel, Mr. Mohiuddin should be allowed to continue, particularly in view of his past experience.