Published On:10 May 2012
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

SDPI demands end all episodes of Hajj subsidy drama

By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), while responding to the Supreme Court’s direction to the Union Government to do away with in the next 10 years the subsidy given to Hajj, has demanded ending all the episodes of the drama including enhanced flight rights imposed by the Air India during Hajj season. This doing away with the subsidy, which in fact is not benefitting Hajj pilgrims but propping up India’s sick official carrier Air India, will help throw away the appeasement charge levelled by forces inimical to Muslims. The Sangh Parivar zealots make is sound like that the Indian government sponsors an Annual-Go-To-Hajj trip for anyone who is interested.

SDPI national president E. Aboobacker in a statement said that the Hajj subsidy of Rs.600 crore is given to Air India and not pilgrims. Under this garb of subsidy, it (money) is going to Air India which is a loss-making airline. The pilgrims do not get the benefits of the Hajj subsidy.
Mr. Aboobacker said that instead of providing subsidies, the Hajj Committee of India,(HCI), an autonomous body under the Indian government responsible for making arrangement for Hajj pilgrimage, should be revamped. He demanded open tendering of tickets which would result in Air India, which at present has the ticketing monopoly, having to compete with other airlines to attract maximum travellers and giving cheaper tickets.

He demanded that the Hajj Committees should be allowed to float a Global Tender to choose Airlines through bidding, which would result in still cheaper fares paid to them, without incurring a single paisa expense to the Government and away with the Hajj subsidy. Hajj delegation team is a matter of diplomatic relations and judiciary’s intrusion in the matter is regretful, SDPI president added.

Mr. Aboobacker also demanded that government should uphold non-discrimination stopping subsidies to other pilgrims including those to Kailash Mansarovar.

[Pervez Bari is a senior Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Madhya Pradesh). He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

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