Naqvi holds talks with Saudi envoy over Haj

New Delhi: Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Monday discussed facilities for Haj pilgrims from India with Saudi Arabian Ambassador Saud Mohammed Al Sati.

Over 1.7 lakh people will go to Haj pilgrimage this year from India including over 1.25 lakh through the Haj Committee of India.

Besides safety of pilgrims, issues like visa process, accommodation and transport facilities for the pilgrims were discussed in the meeting with both Al Sati and Naqvi calling the meeting postive.

Naqvi said that there is “active consideration”, in consultation with Shipping Ministry and the Saudi Arabian Government, on reviving the sea route to Jeddah.

He said the sea route will 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 water was stopped from 1995.

Naqvi also said that a high level committee constituted to frame new Haj Policy 2018 will soon submit its report. The new policy is aimed at making entire Haj process easier and transparent and will focus on Haj pilgrims’ facilities.