In a first since independence, a record number of two lakh Indian Muslims will go to Haj this year without any subsidy said Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Tuesday. The Centre has ended the “deceit of Haj subsidy” with decisive honesty and transparency, Naqvi said while inaugurating a two-day ‘orientation-cum-training programme’ for Haj 2019 deputationists in the national capital.
Naqvi added that this honest and transparent system has ensured that even after removal of Haj subsidy, there is no unnecessary financial burden on the Haj pilgrims. The Centre has taken effective steps to ensure safety and better facilities of Haj pilgrims, added Naqvi, emphasising that no negligence will be tolerated in this regard.
A total of 620 Haj coordinators, assistant Haj Officers, Haj Assistants, doctors, paramedics etc. have been deployed in Saudi Arabia to assist the Haj pilgrims. These deputationists include a large number of women.
More than 500 flights from 21 embarkation points across the country have been provided for the pilgrims. While 1 lakh 40 thousand Haj pilgrims will go through Haj Committee of India, 60 thousand Haj pilgrims will go through Haj Group Organisers (HGOs). All the HGOs will have to take 10 thousand Haj pilgrims on the rates decided by Haj Committee only.
To ensure transparency and convenience to the Haj pilgrims, Naqvi informed that this year a portal of HGOs has been developed containing all the details of HGOs, their packages etc. A total of 725 HGOs will take Haj pilgrims this year. He said that the number of women Haj pilgrims going without “Mehram” (male companion) this year is double in comparison to 2018.
A total of 2,340 Muslim women from India will go for Haj without “Mehram” this year while 1,180 women had performed Haj in 2018 without “Mehram”. This year too, the Minority Affairs Ministry has made arrangement to send these women on Haj without lottery system. Two lakh Indian Haj pilgrims include about 48 per cent women.
Flights for Haj 2019 will start from July 4. On July 4, flights will start from Delhi, Gaya, Guwahati and Srinagar. Besides, Haj pilgrims will go from Bengaluru (July 7), Calicut (July 7), Cochin (July 14), Goa (July 13), Mangalore (July 17), Mumbai (July 14 and 21), Srinagar (July 21).
In the second phase, flights will go from Ahmedabad (July 20), Aurangabad (July 22), Bhopal (July 21), Chennai (July 31), Hyderabad (July 26), Jaipur (July 20), Kolkata (July 25), Lucknow (July 20), Nagpur (July 25), Ranchi (July 21) and Varanasi (July 29).
Naqvi said that Saudi Arabia’s decision to increase India’s Haj quota to two lakh has ensured that for the first time since Independence, all the Haj applicants from all big states like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar will go to Haj 2019 as their waiting lists have been cleared due to increase in Haj quota.
A total of 19 health centres (16 in Makkah and 3 in Madina) have been established. Besides, three hospitals in Makkah and one hospital in Madina have been established to ensure proper health facilities to Haj pilgrims. In the two-day training programme, Haj deputationists will be given all the information about Haj pilgrimage, accommodation in Makkah and Madina, transport, health facilities, safety measures etc.