Telangana

Fewer haj application this year

Lack of clarity about the haj season 2021, the COVID–19 pandemic, and the steady increase in airfare, and cost of accommodation has led to the a massive drop in applications from those in Telangana who wish to make the pilgrimage.

According to sources in the Telangana State Haj Committee (TSHC), an agency of the Minorities Welfare Department, which oversees travel, accommodation and guides pilgrims on rituals connected to the pilgrimage, the approximate number of applications received thus far are approximately 3,900, a massive drop compared to the over 10,000 applications it received last year. The last date of submitting applications was January 10.

“So far, we have not received the haj quota for Telangana from the Haj Committee of India, which decides the matter. Apart from this, according to the new guidelines those above 65 years of age will not be allowed to travel. A lot of our pilgrims would were senior citizens. But the most important factor is that we do not know if haj season 2021 will happen or not,” a source in the TSHC said.

The cost of the pilgrimage has been increasing for the past several years, and with the Centre scrapping the haj subsidy on the directions of the Supreme Court, the cost has escalated further. According to those in the know at the TSHC, the cost in the previous year was around ₹ 2.80 lakh. This cost has increased to approximately ₹ 3.50 lakh this year.

While the country saw around 2,100 women opting to make the pilgrimage without a mehram (male relative such as father, brother and husband), Telangana saw no women applying in this category.

“The case was the same last year, we did not see any woman applying to go to the pilgrimage under this category,” another official said.

The month of Zul Hijjah, when the pilgrimage is made, is expected to correspond to July 11 this year.

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 11:43:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/fewer-haj-application-this-year/article33600999.ece

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