Guwahati, July 1 : As subsidy on the cost borne by pilgrims for the performance of Haj at Mecca in Saudi Arabia has been withdrawn by the Centre with effect from this year, the cost of performing Haj has substantially increased.
Earlier through an advertisement the Joint State Haj Committee announced that the cost to be borne by a pilgrim for Haj in 2018 would be between Rs 2. 10 lakh to Rs 2.20 lakh approximately. Accordingly, at the time of application every Haj pilgrim deposited Rs 81,000 and after the applications were accepted by the Committee, every pilgrim paid another installment of Rs 1.80 lakh, bringing the total amount paid by every pilgrim to Rs 2.61 lakh.
In the latest instance, on June 28, the Central Haj Committee has announced a further enhancement with every pilgrim being directed to pay an installment of Rs 7150. This has come in as huge disappointment and anxiety for the pilgrims who are giving finishing touches to their preparations for the pilgrimage to begin shortly.
Unfortunately, for the Haj pilgrims, while as per the advertisement the maximum cost was placed at around Rs 2.20 lakh, the same has now gone up to Rs 2,68,150. Talking to The Sentinel, working chairman of Joint State Haj Pilgrims Coordination Committee Nakibur Zaman has informed that the living arrangements during the time of Haj have been improved in Saudi Arabia that enhancement in the cost has been intimated by the Saudi authorities to the Government of India and that the same has been intimated to the regional Haj committees by the Central Haj Committee of India. Zaman further informed that on July 13 Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal will ceremonially see off the Haj pilgrims and on July 14 the first batch of 300 pilgrims will take off from Guwahati to Jeddah. He also informed that the number of pilgrims to go for Haj from the North-east this year is 3471. In the meantime the training to the Haj pilgrims in different districts of Assam is virtually over.