New Delhi: Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) and Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Monday flagged off the first batch of 300 Haj pilgrims from New Delhi Airport with prayers of country’s safety and prosperity.
Naqvi congratulated the Haj pilgrims and extended best wishes to them for their pilgrimage. Naqvi said that the Ministry of Minority Affairs, in cooperation with Haj Committee of India and other concerned agencies, had completed preparations for Haj 2017 well before in time to ensure smooth Haj pilgrimage.
“New Haj Policy 2018 will be finalised soon and Haj from next year will be organised according to this new Haj policy. A high-level committee constituted in this regard will soon submit its report. The new Haj policy is aimed at making Haj process transparent and smooth,” he said. Naqvi said that reviving the option of sending Haj pilgrims through sea route also is part of the new Haj policy.
“Sending pilgrims through ships will help cut down travel expenses by nearly half as compared to airfares. It will be a revolutionary, pro-poor, pilgrim-friendly decision. The practice of ferrying Haj pilgrims between Mumbai and Jeddah by waterways was stopped from 1995,” he said.
Naqvi said that another advantage with ships available these days is they are modern and well-equipped to ferry 4,000 to 5,000 persons at a time.
Saudi Arabia has increased annual Haj quota of India by 34,005. After significant increase in India’s Haj quota by Saudi Arabia Government, a total of 1,70,025 people have been going to Haj pilgrimage this year from India out of which 1,25,025 pilgrims will go through Haj Committee of India while 45,000 people will go through Private Tour Operators from 21 embarkation points. 1628 Haj pilgrims will go from Delhi.
A total of 16,600 people will go from Delhi embarkation point, which include Haj pilgrims from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.
Besides Delhi, Haj pilgrims are going to Saudi Arab today from embarkation points in Goa, Guwahati, Lucknow, Mangalore, Varanasi, Srinagar and Kolkata today. Haj Flights will also go from Gaya (27 July), Ranchi, Kolkata, Bhopal and Bangalore (08 August), Nagpur (10 August), Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Chennai, Cochin & Jaipur (13 August) and Indore and Hyderabad (14 August).
The 21 embarkation points include- Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Guwahati, Lucknow, Mangalore, Varanasi, Srinagar, Kolkata, Gaya, Ranchi, Bhopal, Bangalore, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Chennai, Cochin, Jaipur, Indore, Hyderabad.