Saudi Gazette report
JEDDAH — Mohsina Kidwai, chairperson of the Haj Committee of India, paid a three-day visit to the Kingdom to review preparations for Indian pilgrims who will start arriving in Saudi Arabia Monday.
Kidwai visited Makkah on Friday and inspected buildings to check their readiness and other logistics. She held discussions with Consul General Faiz Ahmad Kidwai and other officials on various aspects of Haj preparations.
On Saturday, she visited Madinah to evaluate numerous measures put in place for the welfare of Indian pilgrims. She was in Jeddah on Sunday to oversee arrangements for ferrying the pilgrims to Makkah.
While expressing satisfaction over the arrangements, she instructed all concerned officials to serve pilgrims with utmost sincerity and dedication. Kidwai appreciated the services provided by the government of King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, for the welfare of pilgrims.
The first group of Indian pilgrims will arrive in Madinah Monday morning by an Air India flight from Kolkata. The first pilgrim flight to Jeddah will arrive from Ranchi by 5.10 P.M. the same day.
The Consulate General of India has been making concerted efforts to ameliorate the services provided to the pilgrims. In all 479 buildings have been rented to accommodate 125,000 pilgrims coming through the Haj Committee of India. About 45,000 pilgrims will come through private tour operators.
Medical services extended by the Indian Haj Mission, which include comprehensive lab testing, basic investigations, radiographic investigation and ultrasonography, among others, are regarded as one of best and well organized.
Elaborate arrangements are being made to extend medical care to pilgrims this year also. Besides the 60-bed hospital in Makkah, which the Indian Haj mission operates every year, a new 30-bed hospital will be operational in Aziziah area of Makkah to meet the needs of about 65,000 pilgrims who will be accommodated there. Apart from these two hospitals, 11 branch dispensaries will also be functional.
In Madinah, one main dispensary and five branch dispensaries have been set up. Special care will be given to the high risk group of pilgrims above 70 years of age. They will be frequently checked up and their condition will be monitored constantly.
This year several new steps have been taken to upgrade the services provided to the pilgrims.
An agency has been hired to provide the necessary supplies to pilgrim accommodations. Another experienced company will carry out cleaning and maintenance work, including plumbing services and maintenance of air-conditioners and elevators. It will also arrange supply of water trucks to buildings in case of emergencies.
The pilgrims will be provided Saudi Telecom Company’s SIM cards with pre-loaded contact numbers of all concerned officials of the consulate before they leave India. This helps relatives back home to have the Saudi contact number of the pilgrims in advance.
Arrangements have also been made for transporting pilgrims round the clock from their buildings in Aziziah to the Grand Mosque and back.
As offices of Moallims are located on the city’s outskirts, space has been provided in the Haj Mission’s main office in Makkah and one of the buildings in Aziziah for their representatives. This enables the pilgrims to have easy access to their respective Moallims.
For their movement within the holy sites during the Haj days, Indian pilgrims will be able to use the Mashaer Railway this year.
The mission has also set up an online complaint management system. All complaints lodged by the pilgrims in any of branch offices will be uploaded instantly and will be monitored for their prompt redressal.