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Haj 2021: Number of pilgrims will dip even as cost has increased | India News

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MUMBAI: Even though Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi announced Haj 2021 and said that the online application process for Haj 2021 began on Saturday (November 7), the number of pilgrims allowed to perform Haj in 2021 will be much less than pre-2020 figures. Since the threat of coronavirus has not gone away completely, only a limited number of pilgrims may be permitted to undertake the holy trip. India has a quota of two lakh pilgrims.
“Due to the international protocol for the pandemic and restrictions imposed on travel amid pandemic, the number of pilgrims allowed to travel for Haj 2021 will remain less than in the previous years. And the cost of haj too may increase from a minimum Rs 2,50,000 per pilgrim to approximately Rs 3, 75000,” said Haj Committee‘s CEO Dr M A Khan.
Naqvi said on Saturday that every pilgrim will have to undergo the Corona test and show a negative report of the test before he/she is allowed to board the flight.
The last date for applying for Haj 2021 is December 10, 2020 and people can apply online, offline and through Haj Mobile App. For the Haj to be conducted in June-July 2021, several changes have been brought in due to the pandemic-induced restrictions. Unlike in the past, the group of women pilgrims without mehram or male guardians may be reduced to three.
“National, international protocol guidelines due to pandemic will implemented and strictly followed during the Haj 2021,” said Naqvi. He added that arrangements for Haj 2021 are being made under special circumstances with special norms, rules and regulations, eligibility criteria, health and fitness requirements and other relevant conditions of the Saudi Arabia government amid the Corona pandemic.
The embarkationg points for haj flights have been reduced to 10.Earlier, there were 21 Haj embarkation points across the country. For Haj 2021, the 10 embarkation points are- Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Cochin, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Srinagar.
Meanwhile, Yusuf Ahmed Kherada of Al Khalid Tours and Travels, a leading Private Tour Operator, said that the Saudi government should announce the Haj quota for 2021 at the earliest. “We don’t know how much quota we will get. Last year our money got stuck as we had made arrangements of accommodation and travel in Saudi Arabia and the no pilgrims from outside Saudi Arabia were allowed to perform Haj. It will help us plan in advance if we know the quota status,” said Kherada.

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