Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Dr. Asgar Hassan Samoon has informed that there has been considerable increase in number of Haj aspirants in J&K this year, with an increase of around 15% than 2015, an official spokesman said on Friday.
The State Haj Committee has received a record number of 32298 applications during 2016 which includes 2905 applications under Reserved Category A (70 year plus applicants along with a defined companion); 4009 applications under Reserved category B (4th time consecutive applicants) and 25384 General Category applications.
Also pertinent to mention that a number of reserved category applicants, under priority quota, has increased considerably to the level of 6914.
The state has been allocated a quota of 6359 Haj seats this year which includes 1500 seats as special quota for Jammu & Kashmir, being provided over the years with reserved category applicants being more than the allocated quota. The state has been constrained to conduct draw of lots for reserved category B applicants and as many as 555 applicants of this category shall remain in the waiting list.
The Divisional Commissioner informed that the issue has taken up the issue with the Governor's office so that the matter is discussed with Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, so that all reserved category applicants get selected and some aspirants from general category applicants are also accommodated during the 2016 pilgrimage.