Government on 8 July 2013 announced a 20 per cent cut in Haj quota, putting the entire burden to be borne by private tour operators.
With the cutting down of Haj Quota, the private tour operator will now observe their share going down to a meager 9995 from 45000.
The cutting down of haj quota was taken into consideration after the India-Saudi Arabia Bilateral Agreement on Haj 2013 which was signed on 16 March 2013 in Jeddah. As per the agreement, the Haj 2013 quota for India was of 170025 seats, comprising 125025 seats for pilgrims facilitated by the Haj Committee of India (HCOI), Mumbai and 45000 for pilgrims through private tour operators (PTOs).
In June 2013, the Saudi authorities informed Ministry of External Affairs that they had imposed a 50 per cent reduction in the Hajj 2013 quota on local (Saudi) applicants and 20 per cent on all foreign Haj pilgrims as to carry on the smooth progress of the infrastructure work which is being carried out around the Haram Sharif and to keep the area safe and secure for the pilgrims.
So, keeping it into consideration it was decided 20 per cent reduction (34005 seats) for Hajj 2013 by the Saudi Government out of the existing quota (45000) of private tour operators.
It is worth mentioning here that cancellations by Haj Committee of India (HCOI) pilgrims till date will be transferred to the eligible Hajj 2013 PTOs, to the extent possible as the most Haj HCOI pilgrims of around 123511 are first time pilgrims from this year. Haj through HCOI is restricted to only once in a life time against the previous once in five years. The eligible Hajj 2013 PTOs, are yet to be announced.
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