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Haj Subsidy!

Haj Subsidy!

Author: PTI
Publication: Outlook
Date: August 17, 2006
URL: http://www.outlookindia.com/pti_print.asp?id=407522

Over 83,000 pilgrims performed the Haj last year for which the government spent nearly Rs 180 crore as subsidy, Rajya Sabha was informed today.

Five hundred and twenty nine pilgrims performed the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra in 2005 and the government spent Rs 17.2 lakh for the arrangements for their pilgrimage, Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said.

He said 8179 people visited Sikh gurdwaras and Hindu temples in Pakistan last year.

Sharma said the government has been giving subsidy towards air fare for Haj pilgrims going through the Central Haj Committee to Mecca, while it provides free medical assistance, security and escort cover by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police till Lipulekh Pass, a satellite phone and a Liaison Officer for each batch of pilgrims going to Kailash Mansarovar.

The Indian High Commission in Islamabad sends Liaison officers to look after the welfare of pilgrims visiting Pakistan, the minister said.

While 83,298 pilgrims performed Haj in 2005, 75,139 people visited Mecca in 2004 and 72,634 in 2003, he said adding government spent Rs 179.66 crore, Rs 160.70 crore and Rs 172.63 crore towards subsidy for the pilgrimage for the respective years.

As many as 537 pilgrims visited Kailash Mansarovar in 2004, while 316 people trekked their way to the holy lake in 2003. The number of pilgrims visiting gurdwaras and Hindu temples in Pakistan was 7636 in 2004 while 3776 performed the pilgrimage in 2003.

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