Gen Category Haj pilgrims from J&K may miss trip to Mecca

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This year the Haj applicants from the state, whose names did not make it in the final list in the last three years, may finally be able to take the journey to Mecca this year but they will be selected through lucky draw.

This year 6,900 people have applied for the Haj trip whereas the quota for the J&K state is about 6,121 which means remaining 800 people will not be able to go for the trip.

A senior Haj official said that there is a shortfall of about 779 seats which have forced them to choose aspirants from the ones who were not selected from last three years by draw of lots.

According to the rules, the Haj authorities are assumed to accommodate all applicants falling under category – A (70 years and above) on the priority basis followed by category – B applicants, which consist of aspirants dropped in the past three years.

As of now, the authorities have picked up 2,900 applications under category – A, while 4,000 aspirants have applied under category – B.

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After choosing applicants from the two categories, the Hajj committee has selected applicants for remaining seats from the general category through draw of lots.

The quota sanctioned for Jammu and Kashmir is 4,621 and the Centre allocates about special quota of 1,500 seats to the state.

As per officials, the total number of applications received this year has hiked from 29,755 in 2015 to 32,000.The Haj authorities have written to the state government to increase the quota because every year the number of applicants are increasing.

The officials said that they have forwarded the request to the Revenue Department to get approval for increasing quota as otherwise they have to face public criticism in the wake of increasing backlogs.

The Commissioner Secretary of the Revenue department, Muhammad Afzal Bhat confirmed that the dropout aspirants would be selected through draw of lots. He said that an application has been forwarded to the Ministry of External Affairs seeking an increase in the allocated quota of 1,500 seats and they wish that their demands will be entertained.