Hajj 2023: Tariff hike leaves pilgrims disappointed

Will take up issue with concerned again; Rise in dollar rate, less interest by airlines in tendering process major reasons for hike in Haj amount: Chairperson JKHC Er Aijaz Hussain

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SRINAGAR — Ahead of the Hajj 2023 pilgrimage, the authorities have once again resorted to the unexpected hike this year too, leaving the pilgrims from Jammu & Kashmir disappointed while the Jammu & Kashmir Hajj Committee (JKHC) stated that the matter will be taken up with the concerned authorities to ensure that the amount for the pilgrimage for the Kashmiri Hajj aspirants will at par with those of other states.

According to the news agency KNO, the pilgrimage amount has been increased this year too as according to the document shared by the JKHC Chairperson, Safina Beigh, the amount has been hiked by Rs 10,000 compared to last year, which is Rs 50,000 to Rs 91,000 more than other states.

However, Safina Beigh said that the rates have always remained high for the Hajj aspirants in Jammu & Kashmir, but in a recent meeting, she had raised the issue with the concerned authorities and she was assured the rates will not be increased.

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However, despite assurances, the rates have been increased this year too, she said, adding that she will take up the matter with the concerned officials and ministry again and will see if there is any possibility of a refund.

In her tweet, she appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resolve the issue. “Despite the announcement of cheaper Haj rates this year, the exorbitant fares from Kashmir are causing apprehensions among the people. As the leader of our nation, we have full faith in your ability to resolve this issue and make it easier for the people of Kashmir to fulfill their religious obligations. We request your intervention regarding the high airfares for Kashmiri pilgrims in comparison to the rest of the Indian states and take necessary steps to ensure that the airfares for Kashmiri pilgrims are brought at par with those of other states. High costs are making it difficult for many devotees to undertake the holy pilgrimage. Your intervention will go a long way in providing relief to the people and strengthening the unity of our diverse nation,” she tweeted.

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“Pertinently, the airfare difference between Bengaluru & Srinagar is ₹91K, Delhi & Srinagar is ₹50K, Hyderabad & Srinagar is ₹90K, Mumbai & Srinagar is ₹90K. This clearly gives rise to apprehensions among masses in Kashmir that need to be tackled immediately,” Beigh tweeted.

Moreover, Member Haj Committee of India (HCoI), Er Aijaz Hussain said that there are certain reasons behind the hike in the pilgrimage amount this year, adding that the dollar rates have increased against INR while the Go Airlines have stopped operations and the majority of the airlines don’t participate in the tenders for Kashmir.

He said that these are among the reasons why the pilgrimage amount has been increased this year.

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