Chennai: Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Monday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to designate Chennai as an embarkation point for Haj 2021.
Palaniswami, while pointing out that more 4,500 Haj pilgrims from Tamil Nadu and neighbouring states used to go for Haj pilgrimage over the years from here to Saudi Arabia, said it was not the case for the year 2021.
In a letter to Modi, the Chief Minister said the Haj Committee of India has informed Tamil Nadu that due to COVID- 19 pandemic, the number of embarkation points in India have been reduced from 21 to 10 for Haj 2021 and Chennai has been left out.
The Haj pilgrims from Tamil Nadu have been assigned Cochin as their embarkation point. It will be logistically challenging for Haj pilgrims, who are mostly senior citizens to travel from various locations of Tamil Nadu to Cochin for boarding the flight.
These pilgrims have represented to me about the hardship and difficulties they are likely to face while embarking on Haj pilgrimage from Cochin,” Palaniswai said.
Considering their hardship and inconvenience, Palaniswami requested that Chennai may be designated as an embarkation point for Haj 2021, as in earlier years.
He also said Tamil Nadu would follow all prescribed COVID-19 protocols for ensuring the safety of the pilgrims.