Flights to operate directly from Sgr to Jeddah: Minister
SRINAGAR: With more than twenty thousand Hajj aspirants from the state having applied for Hajj 2013, only 1101 seats out of a total available quota of 5604 seats will go for draw of lots as rest of the seats have been reserved for certain categories of pilgrims as per latest guidelines of the government.
According to official sources, the state Hajj Committee has received 21693 application forms from aspiring Hajj Pilgrims against a total available quota of 5604 seats. However, only 1101 seats will be filled through a draw of lots as 4503 seats have been reserved for aspirants who either fall in the old age category or have not been able to get a seat after applying three times in the past, they said. 1991 aspirants who fall in the age group of 70 or above shall get their seats directly through reservation while as another 2512 pilgrims will get their seats on the basis of having unsuccessfully applied thrice in the past, the sources added.
Accordingly fate of remaining 17109 aspirants will be decided through a draw of lots for remaining 1101 seats. However, according to the sources, the state government has asked the centre for an additional quota of seats for J&K state in view of the fact that a huge number of aspiring pilgrims will not be able to get seats to perform Hajj this year. They said the central government is likely to allocate an additional quota of around 1500 seats to the state which will be filled through a draw of lots.
Meanwhile, when contacted, Minister for Hajj and Auqaf, Peerzada Muhammad Sayed confirmed that the state government has asked the central government to increase the Hajj 2013 quota for the state. “I have already talked to External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid for additional quota of Hajj seats and we are hopeful of a positive outcome”, Peerzada said. He added that Hajj flights will be operating directly from Srinagar to Jeddah without any stopovers this year also.
He said the state government will ensure that the Hajj house in Srinagar is upgraded before Hajj 2013 commences. “An amount of Rs 19 crore has already been sanctioned for upgradation of the Hajj house which had been earlier proposed. JKPCC has been directed to complete the project before commencement of Hajj, which includes construction of a hospital and elevator at the Hajj house”, he added. (KNS)