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Haj pilgrimage: 136,020 Indians to perform Haj this year, quota remains same

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Jeddah (Feb. 04, 2015): Over 136,000 Indians will perform Haj in 2015 with the quota for the country remaining unchanged since last year due to the ongoing expansion work at the Grand Mosque in Mecca.

The agreement in this regard was signed as the Indian Haj delegation led by Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. (Retd) V K Singh held a meeting with Saudi Arabia's Haj minister Bandar Al Hajjar yesterday here in Jeddah to chalk out a plan for this year's pilgrimage.

India's Haj quota for 2015 is 136,020 out of which 100,020 pilgrims would come through the Haj Committee and 36,000 will come through private tour operators.

The MoS External Affairs requested the Saudi Minister to increase India's quota for the annual pilgrimage. The request was noted and will be considered later but Saudi Arabian authorities have decided to freeze the quota for all nations due to the ongoing expansion at the Grand Mosque.

During the meeting between minister Singh and the Saudi Haj Minister wide range of Haj-related issues were discussed including the need to have effective cooling system in the tent city of Mina, improved land transportation facilities in Jeddah, Mecca and Madina, catering services to pilgrims and baggage standardisation.

It was also conveyed by the MoS that the using of catering services in Mecca should be optional for the countries as when roads are closed during Haj, it becomes difficult for caterers to supply food.

The Indian delegation included Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Hamid Ali Rao, Chairman of Central Haj Committee of India Qaiser Shamim, Indian Consul General Mubarak, Joint Secretary (Haj) in Ministry of External Affairs Ajit Gupte, senior diplomats and Air India and Civil Aviation ministry officials.

The Consul General also said that efforts were on to introduce more technology for making the stay of Indian Hajis more comfortable.