Srinagar among 21 embarkation points for Haj flights this yr

SRINAGAR – Chairman, Haj Committee of India, Shamim Qaiser, called on the Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, here this morning and apprised him about the measures being taken for smooth conduct of Haj-2015.

During the meeting, Qaiser briefed the Chief Minister about the preparations underway for operation of direct Haj flights from Srinagar to Medina Munawarah and arrangements made for stay of pilgrims in Saudi Arabia. He said the facilities this year will be better than last year and it will be ensured that pilgrims face no difficulty while performing Haj-e-Baitullah.    

Nearly one lakh people are expected to perform the annual Haj Pilgrimage from India this year, including 6684 from J&K. As many as 21 embarkation points, including one at Srinagar, have been established across the country for operation of Haj flights with first scheduled to take off from the summer capital on August 17.

The Chairman, who is visiting Srinagar to oversee arrangements being made by the State Haj Committee, said all direct flights to Medina Munawarah from Srinagar will be operated by Air India. While two daily flights will run between Srinagar and Medina Munawarah from 17 to 21 August, one flight from August 22 till August 31 will take Hajis to the Holy Land. As many as 340 pilgrims will fly in each flight between August 17 and 31.

In order to facilitate the pilgrims, the Chairman Haj Committee of India, also informed Mufti Sayeed about the elaborate arrangements made for distribution of Adhai Qurbani coupons among Hajis through Islamic Development Bank, which is the only bank recognized by the Saudi Government. “Baggage standardization has also been introduced and each pilgrim will be provided two proper suitcases so that there is hassle-free movement of luggage, particularly at the airports,” he said.     

Nearly 79,000 Hajis this year have opted for Adhai coupons to facilitate offering of sacrifice during the annual pilgrimage.

On the issue of extensive damage to Haj House at Bemina during the devastating floods of 2014, Qaiser informed the Chief Minister that Haj Committee of India will consider release of up to Rs. three crore for reconstruction of the damaged structure.

“I have discussed the issue with the State Haj Committee and advised it to submit a detailed proposal. Generally, we provide assistance in case of construction of new infrastructure, but keeping in view the vast damage suffered by Haj House during floods last year, we will favourably consider the reconstruction proposal,” he said and assured that the Haj Committee of India will also liberally fund proposal for expansion of Haj House to increase its intake capacity.

Presently, 200 Hajis can be accommodated at the Bait-ul-Hujaj at Bemina.  

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