Lottery to select Haj applications
The number of Muslims willing to go for Haj have increased drastically this year.

Officials at the State Haj Committee said that about 84,000 forms were distributed against which 59,793 were received. Out of the total, 31,737 men, 27,793 women and 263 children have applied. Against this, just 40,000 persons applied in 2007. It is for this reason that a computerised lottery system has been introduced by the committee to finalise the list of persons who would actually leave for Mecca in November.

"The 50 per cent increase in the number of applicants has put us in a difficult situation as there are two persons contesting for a single seat," secretary, Laiq Ahmed told reporters here on Thursday. It may be noted that UP has a share of 22.25 per cent in the quota for 1.10 lakh persons allocated to India for Haj. This means that 23,913 persons from UP can go for Haj in one season. The state has been lucky to have got the permission to send 4,265 additional pilgrims following poor response in other states. Together this takes the state’s total to 28,178 seats.

The secretary said that in order to keep the lottery system fair, each district has been allocated a certain number of seats. The district-wise break up was calculated on the basis of percentage of Muslims living in the particular district. On the basis of the said formula, said the officer, 25 districts were awarded lesser quota as the number of applications received from them were either less than or equal to the assigned quota. Such seats totalled to 2066 which were re-distributed in the remaining districts where the number of applicants were too many. The lottery will take place at Ganna Sansthan auditorium from 12 noon onwards. The final list will thereafter be placed on the notice board of the State Haj Committee office and also on the Haj Committee Of India website.

NEWS source