Mumbai, May 7 (IANS): After a gap of two years of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, as many as 79,237 Indian Muslims will fly to Saudi Arabia to perform the Haj-2022 pilgrimage which will start from July onwards, officials said here on Saturday.
They include around 50 per cent women with 22,636 going via Haj Group Organisers and the remaining 56,601 through the Haj Committee of India, from among 83,140 applications including 72,170 online, said Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
More than 1,800 Muslim women will go for Haj 2022 without "Mehram" (male companion), and without the lottery system, he added.
Naqvi was inaugurating a two-day training camp for 400 aKhadim-ul-Hujjaj' including 12 women, who will assist the Indian Haj pilgrims in Makkah-Madina with processes related to Haj, accommodation, transport, health and safety.
They will be trained by officials from HCI, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation, Disaster Management agencies, doctors, airlines, customs and immigration professionals.
The Minister said that Haj is taking place with significant reforms giving utmost priority to health and well-being of the Haj pilgrims and all processes have been chalked out jointly by the governments of India and Saudi Arabia based on criteria like age, health, etc.
"We are making all out efforts to ensure there is no additional financial burden on the pilgrims as they will perform the Haj without any subsidy. Process is going on to take accommodation, transportation and other necessary facilities in Saudi Arabia at affordable prices," Naqvi said.
The selection process of Haj pilgrims was in accordance with the COVID vaccination protocols and other norms decided by the two governments, he said.
Uttar Pradesh leads with a total of 8,701 pilgrims, followed by West Bengal (5,911), Jammu & Kashmir (5,281), Kerala (5,274), Maharashtra (4,874), Assam (3,544), Karnataka (2,764), Gujarat (2,533), Bihar (2,210), Rajasthan (2,072), Telangana (1,822), Madhya Pradesh (1,780), Jharkhand (1,559), Tamil Nadu (1,498), Andhra Pradesh (1,201).
Besides, there will be Haj pilgrims from Delhi (835), Haryana (617), Uttarakhand (485), Odisha (466), Chhattisgarh (431), Manipur (335), Punjab (218), Ladakh (216), Lakshadweep Isles (159), Andaman & Nicobar Islands (114), Tripura (108), Goa (67), Puducherry (52), Himachal Pradesh (38), Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu (34), and Chandigarh 25.
Naqvi said the government has arranged 10 flight embarkation points for Haj 2022 pilgrims going through HCI - Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Cochin, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Srinagar.
Ahmedabad will cover entire Gujarat, Bengaluru (Karnataka and Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh), Cochin (Kerala, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Andaman & Nicobar Isles), Delhi (Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, western districts of Uttar Pradesh), and Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh except western parts).
Guwahati embarkation point will cover (Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Nagaland), Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh and Telangana), Kolkata (West Bengal, Odisha, Tripura, Jharkhand and Bihar), Mumbai (Maharashtra, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli), and Srinagar (Jammu-Kashmir, Leh-Ladakh-Kargil).
The entire Haj 2022 process was digital/online and has been extremely beneficial to ensure health and well-being of the people besides transparent, accessible, affordable and convenient Haj pilgrimage, Naqvi pointed out.
All Haj pilgrims shall get a Digital Health Card, "E-MASIHA" health facility and "E-luggage pre-tagging", providing all information regarding accommodation/transportation in Makkah-Madinah.