Omar for postponing Air Force operation for Haj

Omar said expressing the hope that the Civil Aviation Department would ensure direct Haj flights from Srinagar next year.

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister
Omar Abdullah has said he would ask the Defence Ministry to
postpone Air Force operations at Srinagar International
Airport during the period of Haj flights beginning Monday.

Omar said he would take up the matter with the Defence
Minister and ask for postponement or change of timing till the
Haj flights from Srinagar are over, an official spokesman said
after the chief minister chaired a meeting to review Haj
arrangements here yesterday.

The representative from Airport Authority of India had
informed the meeting about the Air Force operation at Srinagar
Airport from tomorrow, the spokesman said.

Emphasising the need for operationalising Srinagar
International Airport for Haj flights, Omar said the Union
Civil Aviation Ministry should remove all bottlenecks in this
regard and ensure that the international status of the airport
is restored.

"Till international flights to and from Srinagar
Airport are scheduled, the Department of Civil Aviation should
at least conduct direct Haj flights from Srinagar to Jeddah to
facilitate Haj pilgrims of the state," he said.

The state government is actively advocating this
aspect at the central level, Omar said expressing the hope
that the Civil Aviation Department would ensure direct Haj
flights from Srinagar next year.

The Chief Minister also announced free of cost
influenza vaccination for Haj pilgrims of the state which has
been made mandatory by the Government of Saudi Arabia for

The cost of per dose of the vaccine is Rs 690 and it
would be available to all Haj pilgrims travelling on
government quota or privately. They are also receiving free of
cost vaccination for meningitis.

The Chief Minister received detailed appraisal of the
accommodation arranged at Jeddah for Haj pilgrims, facilities
put in place for their stay at Haj Houses here and in Jammu,
their trans-shipment from various districts to the
Srinagar Haj House, food and bedding arrangements and flight
schedules organized for their onward journey.

For the first eight days, four flights carrying over
800 pilgrims will operate daily from the state while a single
flight will operate afterwards.


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