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Last date for submitting Hajj applications extended to Jan 10

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Mumbai: The last date for submission of application forms for Hajj 2021 has been extended to January 10, Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi announced on Thursday.

According to a statement issued by the minister’s office, the embarkation point-wise estimated cost per pilgrim has also been reduced.

Naqvi also said that the Hajj is scheduled for June-July 2021, and the entire process is being followed as per the guidelines issued by the governments of Saudi Arabia and India in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Today, December 10, was the last date for submission of application forms for Hajj 2021, and now it has been extended to January 10, 2021,” the statement said quoting Naqvi after he chaired a meeting of the Hajj Committee of India here.

Over 40,000 applications have been received so far for Hajj 2021. These include more than 500 applications under the category of women (desirous of travelling) without ‘Mehram’ (male companion), the statement said.

For the Hajj 2020, more than 2,100 women had applied under without Mehram category. These women will go for Hajj 2021 as their applications remain valid, it said.

Besides, new forms are also being accepted from women who want to perform Hajj 2021 without Mehram, it said.

All women willing to travel under this category will be exempted from the lottery system, the statement said.

People have been applying online, offline and through the Hajj mobile application, it said.

Naqvi said after discussions and feedback received from Saudi Arabia, the embarkation points-wise estimated cost per Hajj pilgrim has been reduced.

“The estimated cost per pilgrim after reduction is approximately Rs 3,30,000 for Ahmedabad and Mumbai embarkation points, Rs 3,50,000 for Bengaluru, Lucknow, Delhi and Hyderabad, Rs 3,60,000 for Cochin and Srinagar, Rs 3,70,000 for Kolkata and Rs 4 lakh for Guwahati embarkation  point,” he said.

Naqvi said the national-international protocol guidelines in view of the pandemic situation will be implemented and followed “strictly” during the Hajj 2021.

Arrangements for the annual pilgrimage have been made under special circumstances in accordance with special norms, rules, eligibility criteria, age restrictions, health and fitness requirements and other relevant conditions of the Saudi Arabia government amid the pandemic, the minister said.

“There may be changes in the age criteria for performing Haj due to the pandemic. Each pilgrim will have to undergo COVID-19 test 72 hours before the journey as per the prevailing international air travel protocol,” he said.

Pilgrims will have to submit their test certificates issued by an approved laboratory with a negative result before travelling to Saudi Arabia, he added.

Naqvi further said considering the pandemic situation and feedback received from Air India and other agencies, the embarkation points for Hajj 2021 have been reduced to 10.

Earlier, there were 21 Hajj embarkation points across the country.

For Hajj 2021, the 10 embarkation points are: Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Cochin, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Srinagar.

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