'Stop VIP, MP quotas in selection of Haj pilgrims'

'Stop VIP, MP quotas in selection of Haj pilgrims'

First direct Haj flight of the year takes off with 220 pilgrims

Minister for Haj and Wakf, Minority Welfare Dr Mumtaz Ali Khan handing over fruits to Haj pilgrims at the Mangalore Airport premises on Thursday. DH Photo

Addressing a programme organised prior to the departure of the first Haj flight of the year at Mangalore Airport on Thursday, Khan said that the quota system is meting out injustice  to many because some influential people manage to perform Haj making use of their influence and contact.

“The government should abolish quota system and select the pilgrims only through khurra (drawing lots),” he added.

Similarly, the Minister said that the government should also stop allotting Haj seat quota for private travel agencies. “Many pilgrims have complained that the private travel agents  charge huge amount. Let them (travel agents) obtain quota directly from the Saudi Arabian government,” Khan said.

Haj Ghar

Talking about the proposal of constructing a Haj Ghar in Mangalore, Khan said that the government will take up the work only when the construction of Haj Ghar in Bangalore nears completion.

He said that the Haj Committee and community leaders should take initiative to identify land for Haj Ghar in Mangalore.

“Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa has directed the department to arrange all necessary facilities to Haj pilgrims in the State. The government has already released Rs 10 crore for the construction of Haj Ghar in Bangalore. It may require additional Rs 20 crore to complete the works,” he added.

1,000 pilgrims from M’lore

The first direct Haj flight of the year took off with 220 pilgrims at 9.30 pm. Karnataka State Haj Committee Chairman S Mohammed Ghaus Basha Ashrafi said that the government has selected 1,000 people from Mangalore to participate in the Haj pilgrimage. While 880 pilgrims will take off from Mangalore Airport, remaining people will start their pilgrimage from Bangalore, he said adding that as many as 7,316 pilgrims will take part in the Haj rituals from the State this year.

Mangalore Airport Director M R Vasudeva said that four special flights of Al-Wafir Airlines, a Saudi Arabia based aviation company will take off from Mangalore carrying 220 pilgrims each in three days.