Indian Hajis first to arrive in Jeddah
MAKKAH / JEDDAH: Indian pilgrims will be the first to arrive on Tuesday for this year’s Haj. In all, 160,491 pilgrims from India will perform the annual pilgrimage, said the Consulate General of India, which is coordinating the arrangements of 115,000 pilgrims coming through the Haj Committee of India. The remaining 45,491 pilgrims will come through private tour operators.
In all, 341 flights will be operated to transport Indian pilgrims. These flights include Saudia’s 115, Air India’s 130 and NAS Air’s 96. According to the arrangements, Saudia will transport 41,642 pilgrims, whereas 49,358 will be carried by Air India. The first flight carrying 250 passengers from Delhi by NAS is scheduled to land at King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah, at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.
Starting Tuesday, an average of 12 flights will carry around 4,000 pilgrims till Nov. 22 from 19 different Indian embarkation points everyday.
About 500 buildings have been hired to accommodate pilgrims in the Makkah region, 70,000 pilgrims grouped green will stay within one kilometer from the Holy Haram, 13,000 grouped white between 1 and 1.6 km from the Holy Haram, and 32,000 others in Azizia.
About 1,100 pilgrims will stay in different Ribats in Makkah and about 1,822 others in Madinah. “Accommodation and other arrangements in Madinah have also been completed,” he said. “During Haj all our pilgrims coming through the HCI will be accommodated within the traditional boundaries of Mina.” The Indian Haj Mission this year is responsible for allocating accommodation to pilgrims in Makkah as well. Also, a team of “Mission Field Officers” will be deployed to assist branch offices in resolving many of the pilgrims’ problems.
An advance team of 10 Indian doctors arrived on Oct. 10 and is coordinating with various Saudi health agencies to devise strategies to handle swine flu related cases. Two isolation rooms have been created in the 30-bed hospital run by the Indian Haj Mission in Makkah to handle swine flu-related cases.
Pilgrims from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh for this year’s Haj will total about 450,000, according to Adnan Katib, president of the Establishment for South Asian Pilgrims. “The establishment has provided for its pilgrims all necessary equipment for their stay in Mina and other holy sites including mattresses, blankets and other items to ensure their comfort. We are quite ready to receive the pilgrims and provide them with all facilities that will enable them perform the fifth pillar of Islam in ease and comfort,” Katib added. http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1§ion=0&article=127519&d=19&m=10&y=2009