Kashmiri pilgrims dismayed over Hajj becoming costlier

Have taken up matter with HCoI: Safeena Baig
Safina Baig
Safina Baig@SafinaMBaig/Twitter

Srinagar, May 9: Despite the government’s commitment to making Hajj-2023 cheaper by Rs 80000, the Hajj pilgrims from Kashmir have been left disappointed as the pilgrimage costs remain high this year as well.

The high cost has left many pilgrims in a difficult situation, as they struggle to afford the journey. Over the years, the cost of the Hajj –pilgrimage has increased significantly, making it difficult for many Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. In view of the increase in the price, the Jammu and Kashmir Hajj Committee chairperson Safeena Baig in February this year said that the Hajj-2023 will be cheaper by almost Rs 80,000 and that each pilgrim would pay Rs 350,000 to 3,70,000 maximum for performing the annual pilgrimage.

However, as per the tentative amounts fixed by the Hajj Committee of India (HCoI), each pilgrim has to pay an amount of Rs 3.95 lakh to perform Hajj this year.

“This is totally disappointing as we were told that Hajj will be cheaper this year but if we go by the price, it is costlier than last year,” said Showkat Ahmad, one of the pilgrims.

He said the pilgrims who have opted for Qurbani have to pay an additional amount of Rs 16344 per pilgrim. “And unlike the previous year, the pilgrims will not be provided any Saudi Riyal while commencing their journey. Last year each pilgrim was given Rs 40000 (1,828.24 Saudi Riyal) per pilgrim while leaving Hajj House Srinagar. But this year no amount will be provided to the pilgrims. So it means this year Hajj will be costlier from last year,” he said.

The pilgrims said that the commitment of the J&K Hajj Committee to reduce the cost of Hajj-2023 by Rs 80000 was seen as a ray of hope for many pilgrims, but it seems that this commitment has not been fulfilled.

Pilgrims have expressed their disappointment and frustration at the high cost of the pilgrimage, despite the government’s promises.

As per the price fixed by the HCoI for Hajj Pilgrims of different states and UTs, the price fixed for J&K UT is second highest at Rs 2.95 lakhs while the highest price has been fixed for Gaya at Rs 4 lakhs.

“The price for pilgrims of Mumbai and Hyderabad is only Rs 3 lakhs,” said another pilgrim.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Chairperson J&K Hajj Committee Safina Baig said that they have already taken up the matter with concerned authorities noting that the airfares have always remained high for Kashmir airfares.

“Our airfare has always remained higher than other states. I have written a letter to J&K LG, HCoI, and Smriti Irani. They have always made it costlier for Kashmir. So we have raised the issue at concerned quarters,” she said.

As already reported, around 10, 000 people from Jammu and Kashmir are expected to perform the pilgrimage of Hajj, as per the draw of lots held in March this year.

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