Accommodation for Indian pilgrims in Mecca short by half this yr

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New Delhi, Jul 24 (UNI) The accommodation for Indian Haj pilgrims in Mecca is falling short by half of what has been available in previous years.

Stating this at a press conference here, Chairman of the Haj Committee and M P Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi said the shortage had been caused by demolition of several buildings for the development of the 'Haram Sharif' (sanctum sanctoram).

He said as per the latest information, there were 53,344 accommodation unit in Mecca which was exactly half of the accommodation for Indian pilgrims available earlier.

It was for this reason the number of accommodation categories had been brought to three from five on the recommendation of the Consular General of India, he said.

The chairman said arrangement for Indian Haj pilgrims would be done separately in Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat this year, whereas in the past they had been done along with pilgrims of other countries.

Mr Saradgi said Indore had been declared new embarkation point which would prove to a convenient point for pilgrims from Madhya Pradesh. There was also possibility of direct flight from Guwahati to Jeddah if the renovation work on the airport was completed in time, he said, adding that Gaya was ready for the direct flight for pilgrims from Bihar.

He said the draw of lot has been completed, and those who had not been selected, their money would be refunded.

UNI NAZ GT VC1515

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