New Delhi, Nov 21(UNI) The government has made arrangements for the transportation of 1,10,000 Haj pilgrims going to Saudi Arabia this year through the Haj Committee of India besides providing accommodation and other logistical support, the Lok Sabha was informed today.
In a written reply, Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed said the government will also provide seasonal local staff, supervisors, data entry operators, drivers and messengers appointed by the Consulate General of India, Jeddah. In addition, doctors, nurses and other paramedical staff, coordinators, Assistant Haj Officer, Haj assistants and Khadimul Hujjaj are being sent from India on short term deputation to Saudi Arabia.
He said a hospital in Makkah and branch offices-cum-dispensaries in Makkah and Madina are being set up for Haj pilgrims. Medicines provided at these dispensaries and hospital are supplied from India and also procured locally. Eight additional ambulances for the Haj Mission in Jeddah have been sanctioned which would substantially add to the medical facilities which are provided to the pilgrms.
The government is also making arrangements for providing polio, meningitis and influenza vaccinations for the pilgrims. The Haj Committe is providing information regarding confirmation of their seats, travel documents, transportation, accomodation, release of foreign exchange, embarkation points and departure dates to the pilgrims.
Mr Ahamed said the government has taken a number of decisions to streamline the functioning of private tour operators so that they provide proper services and facilities for the 47000 pilgrims.
Varanasi has been introduced as 16th embarkation point from this year. The Government would ensure that satisfactory arrangements are made to facilitate the travel of the Haj pilgrims to Saudi Arabia through all the 16 embarkation points in India to Jeddah and Madinah. Both Air India and Saudi Arabia Airlines have rendered services to the pilgrms in this effort.
The expenditure incurred by the Government for the Haj 2006-II is estimated at Rs 23,35,47,728 and provisional subsidy granted is Rs 348 crores, he added.