The fair of Haj pilgrims flying from the central government's Haj Committee is increasing every year. In one way, the government's Haj fair is almost coming equivalent to the price of private Haj. The private agencies take on the tour with full facilities; such as food, lodging, etc. However, Haj rates of the government are silently getting dearer.

The fair of the Haj pilgrims flying from Mangaluru Airport in 2018' government quota has increased to Rs 2,63,450 and Rs. 2,29,250 for Green and Azeeziya categories respectively. An increase of about 80 to 90 thousand compared to last five years. The government is charging extra money from every pilgrim.

Let's look at the past three years' fairs. In 2016, the central government charged Rs 2,19,450 and Rs 1,85,550 for Green and Azeeziya categories respectively for the Haj pilgrims flying from Mangaluru. In 2017, it was 2,39,150 and 2,05,750. That means, an increase of Rs. 20,000 in merely a year. Again from 2017 to 2018 there is an increase of Rs. 25,000. In all, the central government is systematically looting the Haj pilgrims with a steep increase of Rs. 45,000 from 2016 to 2018. 

Let us now know the exact cost of the Haj pilgrimage. The government arranges a staying of 40 days at Mecca and Medina for pilgrims. The government does nothing more than Haj visa, flight tickets, accommodation, vaccinations, and treatment related to primary health problems. The maximum expense for this service comes to Rs.1,20,000 and Rs 95,000 for both the categories respectively if compared to the market price in 2018.

The cost of food and visiting the surrounding areas has to be looked over by the pilgrim itself. Separate charges must be paid to Haj Committee if the pilgrim wants Qurbani arrangement. Rs 25,000 for flight tickets, Mecca hotel room 50,000 (25 days), Madina hotel room 20,000 (15 days) is being charged apart from Rs. 25,000 for other expenses (visa, medical, postage, camp, staff, etc.). In all, it comes to Rs. 1,20,000. This is for the Green category.

Whereas for the Azeezia category, the total cost may come up to Rs. 95,000 as hotel rooms in this category will be given little far in Mecca. This calculation is as per today's market. So how and where the government fair is getting doubled? Who is taking benefit out of this? These are some of the many unanswered questions as of now. The government must stop giving false reasons of Saudi Riyal getting stronger than Indian Rupee every year.

The Haj pilgrims use to get 2,100 Saudi Riyals at the airport until the last year. Haj aspirants of this year may also have the hope to get the same amount of Riyals this year too. But, it has already been announced that there is no government subsidy this year. Central government must let the public know what it is doing with the one lakh extra money it is getting from every Haj pilgrim. As the central government is charging one lakh extra from around 1,25,000 pilgrims, it is even difficult for a calculator to calculate how much amount the central government is looting from Haj pilgrims every year.

Haj is one of the five pillars of the Islam. According to Islam, a Haj pilgrimage must display the spirit of unity, brotherhood, and tolerance. Enimity must be thrown away. Haji must get clean from all impurities. Only the Hajj of a Muslim gets complete. It is maybe because of this a Haj pilgrim completes his Haj by tolerating all the chaos of the government and pays extra money which government wants to loot.

Like a newborn, a haji returns with a pure mind. The government should understand this. As the amendments to the Haj subsidy and other Haj Acts done; in the same way, the central government must stop looting the extra money from Haj pilgrims and must take the responsibility of providing quality service to the extent of the excess amount they are charging. If not, then there will be a curse of exploiting a community.

Rasheed Vittla is a member of D.K district wakf.

 

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Rajkot, Jan 17: Shikhar Dhawan missed a well-deserved ton by a whisker but laid a solid platform for the aggressive duo of skipper Virat Kohli and KL Rahul to ensure a commanding total of 340 for 6 against Australia in the second ODI here on Friday.

Back in form since the last T20 encounter against Sri Lanka, the senior opener looked solid in his 90-ball-96 while Kohli, back at his familiar one drop position, held the middle-order with a 78 off 76 balls and Rahul (80 off 52 balls) provided the final flourish in what was much improved batting performance from the hosts.

While Dhawan added 81 for the opening stand with Rohit Sharma (42) who would regret this missed opportunity on a batting belter after getting set, the southpaw also had a vital 103-run stand with Kohli for the second wicket.

The Kohli-Rahul duo's 78-run partnership off 10.3 overs was also pivotal as it helped the latter to launch a final assault during the end overs.

While Dhawan's innings had 13 fours and a six, Kohli had six hits to the fence including a classic jab-flick off Pat Cummins (0/53 in 10 overs). Rahul's was a stand-out innings with six boundaries and three -maximums, one of which was a lofted cover drive off Mitchell Starc (0/78 in 10 overs), who had a forgettable day.

Adam Zampa (3/50 in 10 overs) was once again the stand-out performer taking Kohli out of equation for the seventh time in limited overs just when he was looking to get his 44th ODI ton.

At the start, Dhawan began with a bowler's bck-drive, giving a glimpse of what was in store. The southpaw completed his sixth fifty versus Australia in 60 balls as he played shots all around the ground.

The last time Dhawan scored successive fifties was in January 2019 against New Zealand. This was his 29th in 50-over cricket.

The left-hander was particularly harsh on left-arm spinner Ashton Agar (0-63 in 8 overs), whom he hammered for two successive fours in the 25th, a sweep and a reverse-sweep, and then in 27th over stuck a four and a six, not allowing him to settle down.

In fact the 77 runs from 10 overs bowled by fifth and sixth bowling option Marnus Labuschagne (0/14 in 2 overs) was the difference from the last game.

However, Dhawan missed out on his 18th ODI hundred by four runs when he pulled a Kane Richardson ball straight to fine leg in 29th over.

Shreyas Iyer (7) fell cheaply. But Kohli was in sublime touch as he ran the singles and doubles with intensity and also it the loose balls for boundary.