New Delhi: The Union government on Wednesday announced a significant reduction in airfares for those going on the Hajj. The reduction will be applicable to passages on Air India, Saudi Airlines and Flynas, an air carrier based in Saudi Arabia, to Jeddah and Medina from 21 airports in India.
“It is a major step after the Hajj subsidies were scrapped for the pilgrimage,” Union Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi,” said.
“The PMO took a keen interest in this. The decision is in line with our empowerment without appeasement policy,” Naqvi told reporters.
The decision to cut airfares will end the “political and economic exploitation” of Hajis “as was done during the Congress-led UPA regime”, Naqvi said. To drive home the point, the minister compared Hajj airfares fixed during the former UPA regime and the ones for 2018.
From Ahmedabad, the round fare this year will be around Rs 65,015 as against Rs 98,750 in 2013-2014. The passage from Mumbai has been brought down to around Rs 57,857 from Rs 98,750 in 2013-14.
The government had in January abolished subsidies given to those on the pilgrimage in view of a 2012 Supreme Court order.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the decision to substantially reduce the airfare for the Hajj pilgrims from India from this year.
Thanking the Centre, particularly Prime Minister, Narendra Modi for the decision, the Chief Minister said the move would balance the cost escalation due to withdrawal of subsidy early this year.
The slash in airfare ranges from Rs. 20, 000 to Rs. 97, 000 and Hajj pilgrims from Srinagar Embarkation Point would be the biggest beneficiaries of this decision. (with PTI inputs)