Union Minister of State for External
Affairs E. Ahamed and Saudi Arabia’s Minister for Haj Dr. Bandar
Hajjar on Saturday signed the annual bilateral Haj 2013 agreement and
discussed arrangements for Haj 2013 in Jeddah.
Ahamed said in a press conference at the Indian Consulate that
a quota of 1,70,000 hajis has been allotted to India for the Haj 2013.
“We had requested the minister to
accommodate an additional number of 10,000 pilgrims during the
next Haj,” said Ahamed, who handed over a letter to the Saudi Haj
Minister in this regard.
Hajjar told Ahamed during that
meeting that the request for additional numbers in the quota would
be looked into favorably.
Earlier, Hajjar held talks with
Ahamed at his office in Jeddah. They discussed issues related to
the performance of Haj by Indian pilgrims for this year, including
their transportation, accommodation and awareness campaign.
Ahamed praised Saudi government’s
great care and concern for improving the services being rendered
to the pilgrims.
Ahamed said that a total of 170,000 pilgrims are expected to
perform Haj this year, in which 1,25,000 will be coming from the
Haj committee under the government and 45,000 pilgrims will
perform through private tour operators.
He said, “25,000 units are already
hired in Makkah (upto 1,500 meters from Haram Sharief).”
He was also informed that hiring of
accommodation in Azizia will start from March 19, 2013 onward.
“Indian pilgrims, meanwhile, are
being instructed not to add any food item to their baggage,” he
He said the first flight from India
carrying pilgrims will arrive on Sept. 7.and the last will depart