136,020 Indians to perform Hajj this year, quota remains same

136,020 Indians to perform Hajj this year, quota remains same

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

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 Makkah.

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

"India’s Hajj quota for 2015 would be 136,020 out of which 100,020 pilgrims would come through the Hajj Committee and 36,000 will come through private tour operators," Indian Consul General in Jeddah B S Mubarak told PTI.

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, he said.

During the meeting between minister Singh and the Saudi Hajj Minister wide range of Hajj-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.

Certain issues related to the visa process were also raised by minister Singh with the Saudi Hajj Minister. He asked the Saudi Minister to simplify the visa process. The Saudi side said they will look into those issues and help solve them, Mubarak said.

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

The Indian delegation included Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Hamid Ali Rao, Chairman of Central Hajj Committee of India QaiserShamim, Indian Consul General Mubarak, Joint Secretary (Hajj) in Ministry of External Affairs AjitGupte, 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 Hajjis more comfortable.