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SIM cards for Indians going for Haj

Tuesday June 05, 2012 10:24:39 AM, IINA

New Delhi: Indian Haj pilgrims this year may be given mobile SIM cards with a balance of five Saudi riyals to remain in touch with their dear ones and the authorities.

A state Haj committee official who attended the recent conference in New Delhi told Khaleej Times that the All-India Haj Committee and the Consulate General of Saudi Arabia had discussed the proposal and were seriously contemplating offering this facility to the pilgrims.

He said the SIM card would help them talk to their relatives and friends back home during their stay in the holy city of Makkah, or get necessary help from local authorities, the Indian consulate and Haj committee officials in case of emergency.

An orientation programme will also be held for select pilgrims to brief them on the guidelines to be followed.

Last year, 3,789 pilgrims from Gujarat left for Haj pilgrimage.

This year, more than 37,000 applications were received by the state Haj committee.

The committee has also issued strict instructions not to allow pilgrims to carry any excess baggage like boxes and canisters with them. The pilgrims have been requested to watch the CD of dos and dont’s by the Haj panel.

The panel official said that the confirmation of the Haj pilgrims would henceforth be made earlier as many were not able to garner resources like finances, leading to a large number of cancellations.

Last year, Saudi Arabia allotted 175,000 of Haj pilgrims for India. Of the 175,000, about 50,000 were allotted to private tour agencies while the rest of 125,000 were handled by the Haj committee itself.






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