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Indian pilgrims first to arrive for Haj

Monday, October 19, 2009 01:01:45 PM, UNI

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The Haj committee is sending 1,15,000 pilgrims out of total 160,491 and the Indian Consulate in Jeddah is coordinating travel arrangements for them. The rest of the pilgrims are coming through private travel operators, according to Indian diplomats.

Swine flu fears have drastically cut down flow of pilgrims from the other countries, but it has not deterred pilgrims from India as the figures show.

A total of 341 flights will be operated to transport Indian pilgrims. These flights include Saudia’s 115, Air India’s 130 and NAS Air’s 96.

According to the arrangements, Saudia will transport 41,642 pilgrims, whereas 49,358 will be carried by Air India. The first flight carrying 250 passengers from Delhi by NAS is scheduled to land at King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah, at 1300 hrs tomorrow.

An average of 12 flights will carry around 4,000 pilgrims till November 22 from 19 different Indian embarkation points everyday.

About 500 buildings have been hired to accommodate pilgrims in the Mecca region, 70,000 pilgrims grouped green will stay within one km from the Holy Haram, 13,000 grouped white between 1 and 1.6 km from the Holy Haram, and 32,000 others in Azizia, the Arab News said.

A team of 10 Indian doctors arrived on October 10 and were coordinating with various Saudi health agencies to devise strategies to handle Swine Flu related cases. Two isolation rooms have been created in the 30-bed hospital run by the Indian Haj Mission in Mecca to handle Swine Flu-related cases.

Pilgrims from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh for this year’s Haj will total about 4,50,000, according to Adnan Katib, president of the Establishment for South Asian Pilgrims.
























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