Whereabouts of Haj pilgrims a click away

Whereabouts of Haj pilgrims a click away

SMK flags off first batch from Delhi

For, the whereabouts of the pilgrims will now be just a click away.

All that one needs to do to trace a particular pilgrim from among the millions assembling in Saudi Arabian city for the annual pilgrimage is to go to the Haj Committee of India’s website and click a link.

“People sitting in India can now find out through the website of the Haj Committee of India the whereabouts of their relatives performing Haj and can communicate with them during their stay in Saudi Arabia,” said External Affairs Minister S M Krishna.

Seeing off the first batch of the pilgrims at the Haj terminal of the Indira Gandhi International Airport here on Tuesday, Krishna said a significant aspect of the arrangements for Indian pilgrims was the enhanced use of information technology through total computerisation of pilgrims’ location and movement.

About 115,000 pilgrims travelling to Mecca through the Haj Committee of India are being transported through Saudi Arabian Airlines and Air India through 19 embarkation points across the country. In addition, 45,000 pilgrims will be going through the private tour operators.

The pilgrims travelling through private tour operators can also be traced through the Haj Committee of India’s website.

The online tracing facility could come in handy for the pilgrims to keep in touch with the members of  their families, who often get anxious following reports of deaths and injuries due to stampedes, fires and other incidents during the pilgrimage.

The External Affairs Minister said the Indian Embassy in Riyadh and Consulate General of India in Jeddah had been entrusted with the responsibility of the arrangements made for the Indian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia. The officials of the Indian Embassy and Consulate would be available in Jeddah, Mecca, Medina and also at centres established at Mina and Arafat during the entire Haj period.

The Indian Government deputed about 300 Khadimul Hujjaj and more than 600 administrative and medical staff to provide and ensure maximum comfort to the pilgrims, said Krishna.

First time

This is the first time that all the Haj pilgrims from India are travelling to Saudi Arabia on international passports. After the Saudi Arabian Government made it mandatory for all pilgrims to travel on international passports, the Indian Government within a short span of just two months issued to all pilgrims a specific non-renewable passport for Saudi Arabia with just eight months’ validity. The outbreak of Swine Flu pandemic also posed another major challenge for the Government ahead of the Haj.

“We have taken adequate measures to address these issues. Our Medical Mission in Saudi Arabia has been fully geared up to address any health related requirement and will be working closely with the local health authorities,” said Krishna.