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2006: Indian Muslim Press Statements
For Latest Indian Muslim Press Statements click here
Archive of Indian Muslim Press Statements click here

Muslim Islamic NewsHaj Subsidy: Air India should not have monopoly


Government should Announce 25% cut in Haj Subsidy & approach Supreme Court for Leniency.

Air India should Recalculate Haj Charter Fare on No-Profit, No Loss Basis.

Haj Pilgrims should be Free to Drop out or Make Alternative Arrangement. 

In Future, Haj Committee should Manage Haj Charter though International Tender.

New Delhi, 14 September, 2006: The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) has taken note of the refusal by the Supreme Court of the Government to stay the order of the Allahabad High Court against Haj Subsidy. This refusal is likely to be sustained on 18 September when the Supreme Court hears the case.

The Haj Charter flights are to commence in November. This will leaves the Government, the Haj Committee and the Haj pilgrims with very limited options.

1) The Haj Charter fare, beginning at Rs 36,000/-, can not be paid by an average pilgrim, at the last minute. Therefore, those who wish to drop out may be permitted to do so. 

2) These pilgrims who wish to make alternative arrangement through Haj Tour Operators, or another airline, may also be allowed.

3) The government may direct Air India to recalculate Haj Charter fare on no-profit, no-loss basis, reduce its establishment and management cost in India and Saudia Arabia, cut down the number of exit and entry points, do away with frills, rearrange the seating to economy class only, and stop additional baggage facilities. A substantial reduction may encourage some Haj pilgrims to utilise the charter flights.

For coming years, the Haj Committee should be authorised to float international tender and negotiate with short-listed bidders, through a high-power team, including representatives of External Affairs, Civil Aviation and Finance ministries with the object of bringing the charter fare to the universally accepted formula of 75% of the return IATA fare. Because of shortage of time this option is not available this year.

The AIMMM is constrained to observe that this critical situation would have been avoided, had the government not ignored contrary advice and not given a monopoly to Air India, had it educated the pilgrims about natural rise due to inflation and announced a phased reduction in Haj subsidy.

The AIMMM suggests the on September 18 the Government should inform the Supreme Court of its intention to reduce the subsidy by 25% with immediate effect and eventually eliminate it in four or five years. and request a lenient view in order to accommodate the Haj pilgrims who have been caught unaware.

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