"Preparations are complete. Preparations are in two parts one is the movement of pilgrims from Mecca to Mina for the core Haj, that we are taking care of. We are coordinating with the South Asian MOASSASA, an umbrella organisation of the Mutawalli (caretakers of pilgrims), we are also coordinating with the Mutawallis," Indian Consul General B S Mubarak told PTI.
"So we are taking care of that part...all arrangements are going according to plan," he said. Indian Haj Mission teams are inspecting all the camps and are taking care of the comfort of the pilgrims to the minutest detail, Mubarak said.
A total of 541 Indian officials have arrived in Saudi Arabia to serve the Haj pilgrims from the country. "We have 13 Branch Offices in Mecca and 5 branch offices in Madinah to handle the complaints and to assist pilgrims. We have 13 dispensaries and a 50-bedded hospital in Mecca and a 30-bedded hospital in Azizia. We have 5-branch dispensaries and a 10-bedded hospital in Madinah," Mubarak said, elaborating on health facilities extended to the Indian pilgrims.
More than 145,000 OPD cases have been treated by Indian doctors so far, he said. India has deputised 139 doctors for Haj.
The Saudi authorities are also working round-the-clock to facilitate pilgrims, and 15,000 workers, including women, have been recruited to regulate and assist in the smooth movement of pilgrims inside the Grand Mosque or Masjid Al-Haram, inside which the Kaaba is located, before, during and after the Haj.
The Saudi Health Ministry is also offering services focusing on treatment and prevention of diseases while special teams are monitoring pilgrims who might carry contagious diseases. More than 100 preventive teams, including 38 stationary and 68 mobile units, are in place to handle infectious diseases.
More than two million pilgrims, coming from all corners of the globe, will begin their trek to the tent city of Mina on Thursday in the first leg of the five-day pilgrimage.
The Haj will reach its zenith on Friday, October 3, when the nearly 3 million pilgrims stand on the plains of Arafat. The pilgrimage will end after Eidal-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice.
The pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of Islam that should be performed at least once in lifetime by every Muslim who is financially and physically capable.