THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Around two lakh pilgrims from India will perform haj this year, Central Haj Committee vice-chairman A Aboobaker told a press meet here on Wednesday. He was in the state to take stock of the haj preparation works.
He said that currently 1.7 lakh people were provided chance to perform haj. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has informed that another 20,000 applications would be accepted this year.
The new quota would be divided among various states according to the population of Muslims there. He also said that the last date for applying for haj pilgrimage had been extended from April 16 to 25. This decision was taken after considering the plea of revenue departments of various states and Passport Authority of India. From this season the haj pilgrims would be provided with Saudi sim cards that would be delivered before their departure. The arrangement to clear the baggage a day before the journey would continue, he said.
Aboobaker also said that the distribution of Zamzam water, the delay in distribution of which has been a bone of contention in the past, would be streamlined. Zamzam water will be distributed with the help of the State Governments and Haj Committees. He said that direct haj flights would be operated from Madurai and Jharkhand. In case of shortage of passengers from Madurai, pilgrims from Kerala and Karnataka would be considered. The Central Haj Committee would allot `2 crore to construct haj houses in all the states, he