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Performing Haj is set to get costlier for Indian pilgrims this year owing to the slump witnessed by the rupee and an increase in the costs of Haj establishments in Mecca, according to a media report.
Many Haj Indian applicants whose names figured in a list announced by the Central Haj Committee (CHC) opted out after the increase in costs, the Arab News reported.
In Andhra Pradesh, the report said, over 400 applicants withdrew from the pilgrimage due to the cost factor.
A total of 136,020 Indians are scheduled to perform Haj this year with 123,511 coming through the CHC and another 34,005 through private tour operators.
There are two categories of accommodation available for Indian pilgrims. They are in Aziziah, which is cheaper, and the more expensive Green category.
Pilgrims under the Green category of accommodation have to pay Rs 179,800 compared to Rs 164,905 last year, and those under the Aziziah category have to shell out Rs 149,450 against Rs 136,264 last year.
Majority of Indians opt to perform the Haj pilgrimage through the CHC, where Haj pilgrims are selected through a draw of lots. The selected persons are required to pay the charges in two instalments.
Unlike other countries that charge full-fare air tickets, India has a standard policy of subsidising aviation transport costs for Haj pilgrims. This year, Air India is charging Rs 28,000 compared to last year's Rs 20,000, the report said.