SRINAGAR: Thousands of Kashmiri Haj pilgrims are encountering umpteen handships due to the inadequate facilities provided to them. The non-availability of SIM cards has turned out to be the pressing problem as pilgrims are unable to talk to their families back home.
The pilgrims from different areas of Kashmir valley who have left for the holy pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia said the J&K state Hajj Committee has completely failed to live up to their promises.
“We were told at the Hajj house that the SIM cards will be provided to us at Delhi airport. The cards were not given but in turn the flight was delayed by two hours. The SIMs given in plane did not activate even as we were that they will be functional in two hours,” Fayaz Ahmad, 43, a pilgrim from Konibal, Pampore told Kashmir Reader.
“I somehow managed to get my Sim card activated after paying extra bucks but most of the pilgrims are without activated sim cards. They are not able to contact their family back at home nor is their family able to contact them,” he said.
During the past 10 days, several families have tried to contact their relatives through my number. I was able to find a few family members and passed the message left by their family members at Kashmir but I was not able to find most of them,” he said.
“We are here from 1st of August and we have complained about this problem many times but nothing has been done to address the issue,” he said. He said the pilgrims faced problems during their stay at Madina but after shifting to Mecca, the accommodation issues are not there.
Minister of state for Hajj and Auqaf, Farooq Ahmad Andrabi said the responsibility of the state government commences at the Srinagar’s Hajj House and ends at the Srinagar airport, wherefrom it is the job of the Government of India and the Saudi authorities to take care of the pilgrims.