SRINAGAR: Chief Minister, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, today gave a warm send off to the first batch of Haj pilgrims from the state and wished them a safe journey and smooth performance of Manasik-e-Haj.
The Chief Minister reached Srinagar Airport early in the morning where the first group of 340 pilgrims left for the holy journey in a direct Air India flight.
Mehbooba Mufti was also present.
Interacting with the pilgrims, Mufti Sayeed wished them well-being, success and smooth conduct of Haj-e-Baitullah. He also asked them to pray to Allah for peace and progress of the state as well as safeguarding us against the vagaries of weather. The pilgrims shook hands with him and reciprocated his good wishes.
The Hajis thanked the Chief Minister for making elaborate arrangements at the Haj House and Srinagar Airport. They also welcomed his decision to depute Secretary Revenue, Haj & Auqaf to Saudi Arabia for their facilitation and sooth conduct of the pilgrimage.
As reported earlier, 6684 Hajis from J&K will fly daily to Medina from Srinagar from today till August 31 through the State Haj Committee, which has made adequate arrangements for smooth conduct of the annual pilgrimage.
All arrangements of transportation, boarding and lodging, luggage checking and security at Srinagar Haj House and hassle-free screening of baggage, refreshment, food, Nimaz, distribution of travel documents and issuance of boarding passes at the Srinagar Airport are in place for the Haj pilgrims.
Air India will operate a total of 20 flights to fly Hajis from Srinagar Airport, which is one of the 21 embarkations in the country. In order to facilitate pilgrims, the Chief Minister has ordered deputation of Revenue Secretary to Saudi Arabia. He will oversee arrangements made for the Hajis and remain there till the completion of the annual pilgrimage.
India Haj quota cut by 30%
MANGALURU: Massive construction work at Makkah has eaten into the quota of pilgrims Muslim nations and other countries can send for Haj this year.
Against the annual quota of 1.45 lakh pilgrims through Haj committees in states, and 35,000 that private tour operators take India will be able to send 1,00,020 pilgrims through the committees and 34,000 in private this year, said MM Ahmad, vice-chairman of the Haj Committee of India, Times of India reported on Monday.
Ahmad said India and the rest of the world is hopeful the quota will be restored, if not enhanced, in time for Haj in 2016. He added that Saudi authorities have effected a 20% across-the-board cut in quotas this year.
The Haj Committee has also created two categories — Greens and Aziziya — for the benefit of pilgrims. While pilgrims in the Greens group need to pay Rs 2.13 lakh, those in the Aziziya group have to shell out Rs 1.83 lakh. The pilgrims in the Greens group will be housed in accommodation closest to the Grand Mosque in Medina and will start their Haj pilgrimage from there, and the rest in accommodation slightly farther from the mosque, Ahmad noted.
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