Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi Saturday said that the new Haj policy-2018 will be unveiled this month. During a review meeting on Haj 2017 in Mumbai, Mr Naqvi said, from the next year, Haj will be organised as per new policy.
According to an official release, the Minister said, the new Haj policy is aimed at making Haj process more transparent and smooth. Mr Naqvi said, providing best facilities to Haj pilgrims is at centre of this new Haj policy. He said, a high-level committee constituted to frame the new Haj policy is in final stage and it will be unveiled this month.
The Minister said that reviving the option of sending Haj pilgrims through sea route is also one of the important part of the new policy. He said, sending pilgrims through ships will help cut down travel expenses by nearly half as compared to airfares and will be a revolutionary, pro-poor, pilgrim-friendly decision.
The practice of ferrying Haj pilgrims between Mumbai and Jeddah by waterways was stopped from 1995. Mr Naqvi said, discussion is going on with Saudi Arabia Government on reviving Haj pilgrimage through sea route also.
Haj 2017 started with departure of Haj pilgrims from various embarkation points across the country on 24th July. Saudi Arabia has increased annual Haj quota of India by 34,005. After significant increase in India’s Haj quota by Saudi Arabia Government, a total of 1,70,025 people have been going to Haj pilgrimage this year from India out of which 1,25,025 pilgrims are going through Haj Committee of India while 45,000 people are going through Private Tour Operators from 21 embarkation points.
During first phase of Haj 2017, about 65,000 Haj pilgrims have gone to Saudi Arabia. In the first phase, Haj pilgrims went from embarkation points in Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Gauhati, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mangalore, Srinagar and Varanasi.
In the second phase, Haj pilgrims will go from Bangalore, Bhopal, Ranchi, Nagpur, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Cochin, Chennai, Aurangabad, Ahmedabad and Indore. The second phase will end on 26th August.