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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Jaya seeks more seats for TN Haj pilgrims

Chennai, Aug 4: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today sought the intervention of External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh to arrange release of additional seats for Haj pilgrims from the state.

In a letter to Natwar Singh yesterday, she said the Haj Committee of India (HCI) has been accommodating and confirming all applications for Haj from pilgrims of the state for the last eight years and "there was no need for conducting quarrah (drawal of lots) for selection of pilgrims".

However, for Haj 2006, the Tamil Nadu State Haj Committee had received 3,927 (plus 12 infants) applications, against the quota of 2,009 fixed for the state. It was reported that the HCI has subsequently increased and fixed the quota of Tamil Nadu as 3,004, and has asked the state Haj committee to conduct quarrah for selection of pilgrims, she said.

"In this regard, I would like to point out that due to provision of better services during Haj 2005, the response from the intending Haj pilgrims from our state for Haj 2006, through the HCI is overwhelming, and restricting the quota to 3,004 for our state and conducting quarrah thereon will lead to disappointment and discontent amongst many of the intending pilgrims", she said.

Jayalalithaa said the state Haj committee had faced a similar situation in 2000, during which against a quota of 1,890 applications fixed for the state, the HCI cleared all the 3,858 and 11 infants applications received, thereby avoiding quarrah.

"Further, I understand that the Saudi government had increased the quota of Indian pilgrims for Haj 2006.

"May I, therefore, request you to intervene in the matter and arrange to release additional seats over and above the quota fixed for our state, so that all the applications received by Tamil Nadu State Haj Committee are confirmed for performing Haj 2006", she said. (Our Correspondent)

Published: Thursday, August 04, 2005

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