SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Haj Committee chairperson Safeena Baig said that this year Haj 2023 will be cheaper by almost Rs 80,000 and that each pilgrim is supposed to pay Rs 350,000 to 3,70,000 maximum for performing Haj this year.
Addressing a press conference here, Baig yesterday said after hectic deliberations between Haj Committee of India (HCoI) and the Saudi Government, Haj has been made cheaper this year. “As per our estimates, Haj 2023 will be cheaper by Rs 80,000. Each pilgrim who would otherwise pay Rs 4.50 lakh will have to pay between Rs 3,50,000 to Rs 3,70,000,” she said.
She said that this year, over 10,000 pilgrims from J&K will perform the holy journey of Haj. “Haj office in Srinagar will facilitate every pilgrim including those who are having issues related to passport,” Baig said, adding that the Haj applications are already up on the official website of Haj Committee of India: www.hajcommittee.gov.in free of cost. “Earlier, every pilgrim had to pay Rs 300 for the form. Now, the form can be downloaded and filled with ease,” she said.
The J&K Haj Committee chairperson said that in case of need of conducting the RTPCR test, the government will bear the expenses and take samples of the pilgrims free of cost. She said that the pilgrims above 70-years of age will be prioritised for the Haj while women aged 45 years, without Mehram, can perform the pilgrimage in the groups. “A group of four women without mahram can perform the Haj 2023,” she said, adding that the Saudi Government has given a relaxation to the women who are not having any mahram but yearn to perform Haj.
She also said that from Azizia to Haram, pilgrims are likely to get direct bus services. “This has been the demand of pilgrims who performed the Haj in 2022,” she said. Asked whether there was any plan to address the issues of pilgrims in Makah and Madina as last year, many pilgrims complained of ill treatment by the hotels there, Baig said: “This year, Haj officers will create different groups on Whatsapp and stay in touch with pilgrims. In case of any issue or grievances, immediate redressal would be done.” Pertinently, there will be 25 embankment points across the country for the pilgrims this year. HCoI has maintained that the pilgrimage this year will be much smoother than previous pilgrimages—(KNO)