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Hajj 2018 pilgrimage gets dearer by Rs 7,750, fluctuation in Rupee vs Saudi Riyal rates to blame

Pilgrims embarking on the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia will have to shell out more this year with the Haj Committee of India revising the fee by Rs 7,750. In a circular dated June 26, 2018, the HCI said that the rate was hiked due to an increase in the Saudi Arabian Riyal rates. As per the revised rates, pilgrims falling in the Green Category have been asked to pay an additional amount of Rs 7,750 whereas the pilgrims for Azizya Category have been asked to deposit Rs 7,150 in addition to the previous fee. The HCI said that the fluctuation in the SAR rates has led to this hike. The factors leading to this increase include transportation charge from SAR 347.50 to SAR 391.18; Mashaer Region Metro fare from SAR 250 to SAR 400; introduction of bed charges in Mina Tents @ SAR 147 including 5% VAT; revision of Adahi Coupons rates by IDB from SAR 450 to SAR 475. The notification said that the amount of remittances works were collected at the rate of Rs 17.6010 per SAR whereas the average of these remittances works out to be Rs 17.9106. Also, due to hike in airport taxes by Air India, pilgrims flying from various embarkation points will have to pay an additional amount between Rs 200 and Rs 850. The difference amount payable at following embarkation points are: Chennai (Rs 200), Goa (Rs 850), Kolkata (Rs 850), Mumbai (Rs 250), Nagpur (Rs 200), Srinagar (Rs 900) and Varanasi (Rs 850). The HCI has given pilgrims time till July 10 to pay the difference in amount. It said that confirmation of flight will only be done after receiving the full payment. Meanwhile, the HCI added that the Madinah accommodation rentals has been slashed to SAR 900 from SAR 950. This year, Hajj will commence on August 19 and will continue till August 24.

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