New Delhi, June 13 (ANI): External Affairs Minister on Monday asked the Saudi Government for an increase in the number of Indian pilgrims permitted to perform Haj this year.
Addressing the Haj Conference here, Krishna said: "Given the fact that there has been a significant increase in the number of intending Haj pilgrims from India, the Government has requested the Saudi Government for an enhanced additional Haj quota."
"During my visit to Jeddah for the conclusion of the Bilateral Haj Agreement with the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on March 26, 2011, I personally handed over the request for additional seats to the Saudi Minister for Haj," he added.
Expressing the Government's firm commitment to extend all possible assistance for a successful Haj this year too, Krishna said: "The pilgrimage to the holy places of Makkah and Madinah is both a cherished and life-long dream, and a sacred duty for millions of our brothers and sisters in India. We shall leave no stone unturned for making the fulfillment of their dream and duty as comfortable as we can."
He further informed that the Haj Committee of India is taking all necessary steps to hire accommodation for the pilgrims well in time.
"Over one lakh twenty five thousand units have already been approved for hiring. Process is on for signing of agreement with the landlords," he added.
He further said: "I am happy to note that an important component of the Haj preparations, viz. training, is to be undertaken in several cities of India soon after this Conference. There is indeed need for proper orientation and training of pilgrims through the Haj Committee.
"In an exercise as gigantic as Haj, which involves many agencies outside our Ministry, outside the Government of India, and outside of our country, there would always be room for improvement," he added.
He further assured that his Ministry is committed to solemnly carry out its Constitutional responsibility for "Pilgrimages to places outside India", in consultation and coordination with other stakeholders. (ANI)