RAIPUR: First it was the economic downturn and now the lockdown, several Muslim families in Chhattisgarh, jubilant finding their names in the selected list through the draw of lots (known as Haj Qurrah) in January this year, are apparently disillusioned struggling with financial crunch.
Their sound financial planning required ahead of the Haj pilgrimage virtually collapsed.
With the ongoing recession having impacted the sources of earning and the expenses of many, over 40 out of 469 Muslims selected through transparent online process are not responding to the Chhattisgarh State Haj Committee's repeated reminders to pay their instalments.
The apprehension is many more might call off their plan for Haj, which is the fifth pillar of Islam.
“Such situation never arose before. Surprisingly there is already low response for Haj compared to previous three years, with only 908 applications received. 469 finally selected through Qurrah in January this year. But so far 40 not deposited their first instalment and the passports with the Haj Committee. We fear the number of persons opting for cancellation of their Haj pilgrimage might be the highest ever by June when the departure for Makkah and Madina begins”, said Sajid Memon, chief executive officer of Chhattisgarh state Haj Committee.
Those who couldn’t pay their instalments to the Haj committee, when contacted by The New Indian Express, admitted the poor decisions on their financial planning is now forcing them to prioritise saving of their income for the coming months as they are badly hit both by economic slowdown and coronavirus concerns.
“My family was excited and we celebrated after our name figured in Qurrah of the Haj Committee. But owing to the prevailing conditions we couldn’t sufficiently save for Haj. It’s a helpless situation for us”, said one of the applicants, on condition of anonymity.
There were others who cited the rising “uncertainty”, financial problems, business loss, personal debt among others.
With little scope remaining to augment the earnings, the families are contemplating to postpone their plan for Haj this year.
Usually those going through Haj Committee have to pay the amount between Rs 2.5 to 2.80 lakh per person under two categories — Non Cooking Non Transport Zone (NCNTZ) and Azizia.