MARGAO: All India Haj Committee chairman Shaikh Jina on Monday said that the Government of India cancelled 10 embarkation points including Dabolim international airport due to stringent restrictions imposed on Haj pilgrims by the Saudi Arabia government.

Addressing a press conference at Margao, Jina said that due to COVID-19 pandemic Haj 2020 was cancelled and the Government of India issued new guidelines after Saudi Arabia government imposed restrictions on Haj pilgrims.    

Jina said that of the total 21 embarkation points, the Centre has cancelled 10 embarkation points including Dabolim airport as the Saudi Arabia government has now restricted the number of Haj pilgrims from India to only 35,000.

According to Jina, as many as 1.40 lakh Haj Pilgrims from India had traveled to the Holy place of Mecca in 2019 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the travel of Haj pilgrims from across the world has now been restricted. Besides this, the age limit of pilgrims allowed to travel is 65 years. 

Jina said that it was only because of drastic reduction in Haj travellers and the failure to fill Goa’s quota of 200 Haj travellers, the Centre has cancelled Dabolim airport as one of the embarkation points.

Jina said that in 2019, maximum 180 Haj pilgrims from Goa applied for Haj despite his best efforts and that too after visiting all the Masjids across Goa.

He further said that though the date for applying for Haj pilgrimage started from November 7, to date not a single application was received from Goa even as the deadline for applying for Haj 2021 is December 10, 2020.