UP govt cries foul on cancellation of Haj flight today

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Lucknow, Oct 30 (UNI) Opening yet another front against the Centre on cancellation of the first Haj flight, Uttar Pradesh government today alleged that the Centre had failed to discharge its duties in this regard causing hardships for state Haj pilgrims.

''The Central Haj Committee informed us late last night that flight no SV 5263 to carry 295 Haj pilgrims scheduled to take off from here at 1300 hrs today has been cancelled,'' UP senior cabinet minister and chairman of state Haj committee Nassemuddin Siddiqui told reporters that no reasons were given for the cancellation.

Not only this, he pointed out that the Visa of 290 Haj pilgrims to fly by two flights-one at 1300 hrs and other at 1950 hrs, had also not been received so far. ''It is unfortunate that the Centre has put the onus on the Consulate-general of Saudi Arabia but it is clear that the Centre has not taken enough steps to ensure visas of pilgrims from UP,'' he said.

Mr Siddiqui said it was even more unfortunate that the External Affairs Ministry and the Central Haj Committee had not been responsive to the problems of UP and had failed to provide satsifactory reply.

A total of 490 haj pilgrims were to leave by two flights today,out of which the visas of 290 were still not avaialable which spoke of highly irresponsible attitude of the Centre towards Uttar Pradesh, the UP minister said.

''The state haj committee, UP has already registered its protest with the External Afairs Minister Pranab Mukerjee, his deputy and incharge of Haj affairs E Ahmad and Haj Committee of India but the problems of UP haj pilgrims remain,''Mr Siddiqui charged.

Asked if it was another case of the raw deal to UP at the hand of the Centre, the UP minister replied ''it is for you to see.'' UNI SB SB SSC1332

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