Lucknow: Terming as "unfortunate" Saudi Arabia's decision to reduce Haj pilgrims' quota, Uttar Pradesh Minister Azam Khan on Friday said the Centre should make all out efforts to restore the quota. Khan said the quota reduction would dishearten those who have completed all formalities and are waiting to undertake the pilgrimage.
"About 33,111 people in the state have already been chosen on temporary basis for the pilgrimage of which 31,960 have deposited 50 per cent of the expenditure as advance payment and are all set to go," he said. "If these people come to know of the cut now, they will be disheartened and there is also a possibility that they resort to action which could force Uttar Pradesh government to face a law and order situation without any fault of its own," Khan said.
Haj pilgrims from Uttar Pradesh constitute almost 50 per cent of the total from the country, Khan claimed, adding that as a result maximum effect would also be in the state. He said the Centre should make political and diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue. According to media reports, in the wake of development works in Mecca, Saudi government intends to reduce by 50 per cent internal pilgrims and 20 per cent all overseas pilgrims.