Indian Haj Pilgrims will get separate accommodation: E Ahamed
To provide better facilities and arrangement to Indian Haj Pilgrims in the next Haj season, Indian External Minister for state E Ahamed has set a meeting to Saudi Arabian Minister of Haj Dr. Fa’ud-al-Faresi on April 16 in Jeedah.
Both ministers have discussed the issues relating all the phases of Indian Haj Pilgrimages covering the topics of their accommodations, journey and all facilities which are provided to all pilgrims.
The ministers also signed a four-year agreement. According to this, “Indian pilgrims will get a separate accommodation near the vicinity of holy mosque ‘Makkah’ in Mina city.” Earlier they were accommodated to outside of Makkah vicinity in the ‘tent houses’, which causes several problems to Indian pilgrims.
However, the accommodating tent houses are equipped with all necessary facilities.
‘From the next Haj season, Indian pilgrims will get the new accommodation within the traditional boundaries of ‘Makkah’, as per External Minister for state cited. “Now, there would be only three category of building instead of five. These will be: Green (up to 1,000 metres from the Haram with SR 3,000 rent), White (1,600 metres, SR2, 200), and in Azizeyah area (which is between Makkah and Mina SR 1,500)”, said Ahamed.
Besides, accommodation, ‘all the pilgrims can carry a bucket of 10 ltr. ‘Zamzam’ water (holy water) with them at free of cost’, said Ahamed.
E Ahamad has also appealed to increase the Indian Haj Pilgrimage quota to Saudi Arabia Minister. The quota however has not been increased but Saudi government has assured to take ‘this’ matter in a positive way.
At present, from India, a total of 1,57,000 Haj pilgrims visits to Saudi Arabia in which 1,10,000 goes from Central Haj Committee while remaining 47,000 pilgrims are sent by private tour operators, while India has appealed to increase a quota of 15,000 more pilgrims.
“If the quota has been increased, it would go in the private tour operators’ quota, because there is lack of accommodation for the Indian Haj Committee’s pilgrims as the reconstruction of the accommodation is going on for expanding the haram area.” said Indian Consul Dr. Ausaf Sayeed who was also present in the meeting.
“While as per agreement, the residing facilities would be available only for Central Haj Committee’s pilgrims”, said Sayeed.
Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia M O H Farook was also present in the meeting who described the detail of the agreement.
"We signed an agreement for Haj 2008 with Saudi government. Haj Minister Fouad al-Farsy signed from the Saudi side. The Indian government has made every effort to provide all facilities to the pilgrims preparing to perform Haj this year," he said.
"Indian mission has signed a four-year agreement with South Asian Pilgrims Establishment (SAPE). Apart from providing accommodation to pilgrims in Makkah, Mina and Arafat, Sape provides 15 additional services.”, he further said.
“It will also provide blankets and pillows to all the pilgrims coming through Haj Committee.” added Farook.
Referring to huge construction activity going on in Makkah for expanding the size of haram, E Ahamed said that all the buildings, which used to be hired before had been demolished in recent years. Thus, there are not many accommodations available in the close vicinity of the holy mosque.
Speaking on the orientation of Haj, the Haj Consul Dr Suhel Ejaz Khan said that the training programs would be conducted in India to familiarise them with Haj rituals, its hardship and the facilities provided to them at holy sites.
“Pilgrims will be informed before they embark on the pilgrimage about the facilities they will be getting at the holy sites.” said Suhel Ejaz Khan.
In terms of journey, External Affairs Minister E Ahamed said that Indian Civil Aviation Ministry has assured the External Ministry to provide best service to Haj Pilgrims.
“I have also spoken to Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel and he has assured me of his fullest cooperation to avoid any occurrence of unpleasant situation,” Ahamed said.
Air India and the Saudi Arabian Airlines would fly the pilgrims from 17 embarkation points in India.
“The South East Asian Mosassessa (Establishment) in Mina has agreed to provide accommodation within the traditional boundaries of the tent city.” said Ahamed.
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