IMPHAL, May 11: As per the approval by the Haj Committee of India under the Ministry of External Affairs of Government of India, the number of Haj Pilgrims of Manipur making their pilgrimage to Mecca of Saudi Arabia every year has been increased to 375 for the year 2013 as the Chief Minister of Manipur, Okram Ibobi Singh put pressure on the concerned Ministry of Government of India and Haj Committee of India.
This was stated by Syed Wahidur Rahman, Executive Officer of Manipur State Haj Committee in a meeting with IFP.
He said that the number of pilgrims of Manipur wishing to go on pilgrimage to Mecca of Saudi Arabia has been on the increase. A total of 440 males and females applied for the 2013 Haj pilgrimage. However, the quota of Manipur allotted by Haj Committee of India (HCOI) on April 20, 2013 is 200 Haj pilgrims only.
However, 375 persons will have the opportunity to go to Mecca in 2013 with another 175 pilgrims on the waiting list being approved after 200 Haj pilgrims by HCOI were filled up as the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh pressed upon the matter by officially writing twice to the Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid on April 18, 2013 and May 3, 2013.
He said further that there were 440 applications in total for the Haj pilgrimage till March 30, 2013. 65 applications were rejected since they were repeaters, physically unfit and not Sharai Mehra and some withdrew their applications. Of the remaining 375 persons, when the lottery for 200 persons for quota was held; 172 quota persons remained with 28 persons over 70 years of age being deducted.
The remaining persons were selected through lottery, 175 applicants were on the waiting list. HCOI dispatched a letter saying that a total of 375 persons (200+175=375) can be Haj pilgrims. The letter was received today.
It is on account of the pressure put by the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh. Other demands by the Chief Minister to Ministry of External Affairs include air lifting point for Haj Pilgrims of Manipur at Tulihal Airport, Imphal instead of being at Guwahati and Kolkata and housing of pilgrims of Manipur leaving for Mecca of Saudi Arabia at one place instead of putting them up at two places by dividing them into two categories.
However the last two proposals have not been approved yet. Applicants who were selected provisionally after being on the wait-list should deposit their advance foreign exchange amount with the State Bank of India within May 3, 2013. The office of Manipur State Haj committee will issue filled in pay-in-slips to deposit Advance Amount to the heads of the cover of pilgrims from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The last date of submission of the original of HCOI of pay-in-slips for payment of the amount and its two Xerox copies each, two Xerox copies of pilgrims each at the office of State Haj Committee is May 31.
On the other hand, Haj Committee of India has opened up a coaching and guidance centre for IAS and Allied Services Examination of Muslim Graduates and for extreme economic and educational backwardness. Its detailed information is available at the website of HCOI, www.hajcommittee.com.