Hyderabad: There has been a decline in the number of Haj aspirants this year.
On the last day of submission of the online applications in the state, only 12,289 forms were received, while last year over 17,000 aspirants had applied.
The decline in the number of applications has been observed nationwide, which had forced the Central Haj Committee to extend the last date for the online submission to December 19 for Haj 2019..
Among the applications received so far, 442 were under the reserved category for applicants aged 70 years or above who will be selected automatically.
According to service providers, people prefer the Umrah which is less expensive at about `75,000. Performing the Haj costs `2.5 lakh under the green category and `2.25 lakh under the Azizia category.
Secretary, Telangana State Haj Committee, Prof. S.A. Shukoor said that under the green category, pilgrims would be provided accommodation in Macca within 1,000 meters of the Holy Mosque while under the Azizia category the accommodation is within 8 km. This time, pilgrims may opt for two categories for accommodation in Madina City inside Markazia and outside Markazia.
Applicants will be selected based on the computerised draw which may be held in the first week of January, he said.
Last year, Telangana state was allotted a quota of 4,060, but 540 on the waiting list got an opportunity to perform the Haj. The Saudi government fixes the quota for each country considering the Muslim population; one person is allowed for every 10,000 Muslim population to perform the Haj every year.