Delhi's Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Monday pitched for increasing the quota of the national capital in pilgrimage to Mecca and launched the state's Haj committee website to facilitate pilgrims.
"The quota of Delhi for Haj this year was 1163 for which 8875 applications were filed. The flights for Haj will begin from August 17 and the state government will also organise camps for vaccination and medical check-up of Haj pilgrims," he said.
The deputy chief minister requested the Chairman of the Haj Committee of India, Qaisar Shamim, present at the launch, to increase the Haj quota of Delhi and assured him all the cooperation from the the government's side in his efforts Sisodia launched the website of the Delhi State Haj Committee at the Secretariat in New Delhi.
The computerised draw of lots for Haj applicants were also held in the simple ceremony. Delhi State Haj Committee Chairman Parvez Mian said that the list of the selected Haj pilgrims from Delhi was available on the newly launched website as well as the website of the Haj Committee of India.
Shamim said that efforts were on for increasing the Haj quota of India, and the External Affairs Ministry was in touch with the Saudi Arabian government in this regard. "Informally the Saudi government had accepted the Indian request for increasing quota and the number of Haj pilgrims was likely to be more in the next year", he claimed. Based on the population recorded by the 2001 census, India was alloted a quota of 1.20 lakh Haj pilgirms by the Saudi government, for which about 3.83 lakh applications were filed and on an average, one out of four applicants is selected for the Haj pilgrimage, he said.
Claiming that the ministry of external affairs was highly supportive of the Haj Committee of India proposals, Shamim said that efforts were also on to get the quota increased by introducing the 2011 census for reference.
Delhi's minister for Food and Civil Supplies Asim Ahmad Khan said that he will seek chief minister Arvind Kejriwal's help in finding land for a 'Haj House' in Delhi and also appealed to the Haj Committee of India's chairman for increasing the quota of Delhi. Sisodia also appealed to the pilgrims to seek "divine blessings" for Delhi and also for a government which was free of corruption and price rise.