MUMBAI — Maharashtra ex-Minister and state Congress Working President M. A. Naseem Khan has slammed the government’s move to reduce this year’s quotas for the upcoming Haj pilgrimage and levying higher charges to the Muslim faithful for providing various services, here on Wednesday.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Khan has said that earlier the pilgrim quota given to the Haj Committee of India (HC) India was over 200,000, which has now been slashed to around 150,000.
The rest of the quota has been passed onto the private tour operators who are charging exorbitant amounts ranging from Rs 500,000-Rs 10,00,000 per head for the Haj pilgrimage, he said to the PM.
Khan has also questioned the HCI’s decision to charge different amounts for the pilgrimage from different embarkation points in the country.
He said that the HCI charges heavily from different embarkation points from Maharashtra – like, Mumbai Rs 3,04,843, Nagpur Rs 3,67,044, Aurangabad Rs 3,92,738, which he feels is unjustified.
Khan claimed that the pilgrims are also being denied other benefits like the ‘qurbani’ and ‘adahi’ charges that were given pre-2019, but when he raised the matter with the HCI Members, they informed lack of authority as all their powers were withdrawn by the Ministry of Minority Affairs.
The Congress leader also hinted at a scam in the hotel bookings in Mecca and Madina in Saudi Arabia for the pilgrims, why the subsidised tickets offered by Saudi Arabian Airlines are now booked through private airlines at higher rates.
“Due to this, there is anger in the pilgrims and the Muslim community in Maharashtra and all over India. I request you to personally look into the matter and give suitable directions to the concerned ministry,” Khan appealed to the PM.
The Haj-2023 will start from June 26 and the first of the flights to Saudi Arabia from different parts of India shall commence from May 21. – IANS