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Passport poser for Haj pilgrims

Thousands of Muslims based in Jharkhand are on the verge of missing out on their Haj, thanks to short supply of passport booklets.

March 15 being the last date to submit application forms for the pilgrimage, these people are visiting regional passport office daily only to return empty-handed.

A delegation of Jharkhand Rabta Haj Committee, headed by Congress leader Haji Matlub Imam, met passport officials on Friday and requested them to take steps to solve the problem. The committee also sent a memorandum to Union external affairs minister Salman Khurshid.

The organisation has urged the Centre to extend the last date of submission of application forms.

“We were told that Haj applications cannot be processed unless the office has adequate number of passport booklets. The Ranchi office requires around 4,000 every month, but receives only 300. Besides pilgrims, other applicants are also facing problems,” Imam told The Telegraph on Sunday.

He added that officials told them that a Nasik-based company, responsible for manufacturing the booklets, was not supplying them as per demand. “They told us that passport offices across the country were facing a similar crunch,” said Imam.

Among sufferers is Julekha Khatoon, a resident of Kadru in Ranchi. She had applied for her passport in October last year. Her police verification is over, but she is yet to receive the document.

Samim Ahmed from Mandar had applied in September 2013. “Every week, I visit the passport office. But, in vain,” he said.

Regional passport officer Sanatan could not be contacted for his comment.

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