Minister of State for Hajj and Auqaf Syed Farooq Ahmad Andrabi has called upon the Government of India to start direct Hajj flights from Srinagar. He also pitched for additional 1400 seats from the special Hajj quota for J&K.
The issue was raised by the Minister during the annual Hajj Conference in New Delhi.
The conference is held every year to review the arrangements for Hajj and deliberate upon the issues to further streamline the annual pilgrimage.
The Minister appraised the conference that Hajj pilgrims from J&K especially senior citizens are facing inconvenience because of stop-over at New Delhi or Sharjah for at least 4 to 5 hours.
“I requested the Union Minority Affairs Minister to allow direct Hajj flights from Srinagar to Jeddah for convenience of the pilgrims from J&K,” Andrabi said.
The Minister said that this year 7960 pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir will embark on annual Hajj pilgrimage. He said during the conference various issues have been raised for the facilitation of pilgrims.
The Minister said that State government also demanded grant of 1400 additional seats from special Hajj quota this year as was granted to Kerala and Gujarat states.
The Minister also sought monetary help from the Hajj Committee of India for modernization the Hajj House, which was severely damaged during the September 2014 floods. He informed the Hajj Committee of India that estimated loss to four-storey Hajj House building at Bemina was around Rs 2 crore. He said that on the strong plea of the State government, the Union Minority Affairs Minister assured that all possible help will be given for rebuilding the Hajj house at Srinagar.
Andrabi also urged the Central Hajj Committee for providing cluster-type accommodation in Makkah and other holy places as Indian pilgrims are more diverse than the other nationalities. During the Hajj, a nodal officer should be appointed to coordinate with embassy officials and other related departments, he suggested.
Andrabi also demanded that the Hajj Committee should make alternate arrangement for the pilgrims availing green category facilities.