Karnataka seeks more quota for Haj pilgrims

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BANGALORE: Karnataka government has sought additional quota for Haj pilgrims from state for this year’s pilgrimage.

“The centre has fixed Karnataka’s Haj quota at 4977 for 2014 while we should have been alloted 7,000”, state haj minister Roshan Baig said addressing a qurrah (online draw of lots) to pick Haj piligrims here on Sunday.

A delegation headed by union minority affairs minister K Rahman Khan are planning to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek the increase in the Haj quota for the state.

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Janab Mohammed Margood Ahmed, vice chairman of India and chairman, Karnataka state committee said,”While it has been reduced by 20% across India due to massive construction of the holy cities of Medina and Mecca, including the expansion of the Grand Mosque, Karnataka still has not got its due. This decision is a major blow to pilgrims from the state.”

Baig earlier said the Karnataka government will take stringent action against private tour operators who indulge in fleecing and cheating Haj pilgrims. While the Haj Committee of India has fixed Rs 1.80 and Rs 1.50 lakh respectively for two category of pilgrims, he said private tour operators are reportedly collecting Rs 6 to 8 lakh from each pilgrim promising better facilities and luxury accommodation.

He said he has already discussed the issue with home minister K J George in the backdrop of a series of complaints received from the Haj pilgrims.

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