Chief Minister, Ms Mehbooba Mufti Fridaychaired a high-level meeting here to review the arrangements put in place by the State Hajj Committee and various state and central government departments for the smooth conduct of Hajj-2016.
Ms Mehbooba Mufti was earlier unanimously elected as the new Chairperson of the J&K State Hajj Committee.
Following her election as the Chairperson, the Chief Minister nominated Minister of State for Hajj & Auqaf, Syed Farooq Andrabi as the Vice-Chairperson of the State Hajj Committee.
Minister of State for Hajj and Auqaf, Syed Farooq Andrabi, members of the State Hajj Committee including Mushtaq Ahmad Shah, MLA, Javaid Hassan Baig, MLA, Shah Muhammad Tantray, MLA, Saif-ud-din Bhat, MLC, Moulana Riyaz-ul-Haq Noorabadi, Khateeb Jamia Masjid Ziyarat Yaqoob Sarfi Sahab (RA), Sonawar, Mehboob Iqbal, retired IAS Officer, Dr Nisar Ahmad Wani, Social Worker and Syed Qamar Sajad, Executive Officer, SHC, (Ex-officio Member) were present.
Immediately, after her nomination as the Chairperson of the State Hajj Committee, Ms Mehbooba received comprehensive brief, at a joint meeting of the members of the SHC and top officers of the civil and police administration, on the arrangements made for Hajj-2016.
She emphasized on ensuring all the requisite facilities for the pilgrims to and fro as also during their stay in Saudi Arabia. She said all agencies responsible for the conduct of Hajj-2016 should work in close coordination to render best services to the pilgrims.
To facilitate Hajj pilgrims, the Chief Minister asked the Executive Officer, State Hajj Committee to ensure that pilgrims do not face any inconvenience particularly under the prevailing circumstances and their stay at the Hajj House Bemina should be made comfortable. “Proper arrangements need to be in place to ensure hassle-free stay as well as movement of pilgrims from other districts to the Hajj House, Srinagar and from there to the Srinagar International Airport”. She also asked the concerned to monitor facilitation of pilgrims during security and luggage checking before their departure so that they do not face any difficulty.
While receiving detailed appraisal, the Chief Minister was informed that over 32,000 applications for Hajj 2016 were received this year. As on date 6457 seats have been allotted to the State under various categories.
The Hajj flights from Srinagar to Madina Munnawarrah shall commence from 10 August upto 19 August 2016. A total number of 20 flights with two flights per day, one at 9 am and another at 2:30 pm will operate during these days and each flight will carry 340 pilgrims. For receiving foreign exchange (Saudi Riyal), State Bank of India shall establish a counter at a designated space in Srinagar Airport, besides special counters for additional foreign exchange facility shall be established by J&K Bank, SBI and HDFC Bank.
The Chief Minister was informed that orientation/ training of Hajj pilgrims was completed in two phases across the State, besides all pilgrims have been administered the requisite vaccines.
The Chief Minister was further informed that adequate arrangements for boarding and lodging of pilgrims from distant areas have been made at Hajj House, Srinagar. Besides, the JKTDC has also been requested to keep accommodation arrangements ready in case of any additional requirement. Further around 20 SRTC buses/vehicles have been reserved for transportation of pilgrims and their luggage, to the Srinagar International Airport. Besides, SRTC buses shall also be made available at each district headquarter in Kashmir to ferry pilgrims from their respective districts to the Hajj House, Srinagar. To and fro transportation of pilgrims of Jammu division have also been made through SRTC. She also received brief on the overall security and traffic management plan for smooth movement of Hajj Pilgrims.
The Chief Minister called for ensuring adequate arrangements in advance at the Srinagar Airport with regard to immigration clearance/customs, refreshment, ablution and prayer facilities etc.
To ensure that Khudam-ul-Hujaj perform their duties with utmost care, Ms Mehbooba asked the State Hajj Committee that advance team of officers of the State Government should be sent to Saudi Arabia and best possible arrangements should be put in place with regard to accommodation and transportation facilities there and any other assistance and logistic support needed by the pilgrims.
This year, 32 Khudam-ul-Hujaj are being sent from the State to handhold the Hajj Pilgrims in the Holy Land. Besides, adequate numbers of volunteers are also being deployed for assisting the pilgrims at the Hajj House and the Srinagar Airport. The Chief Minister directed the concerned department to enhance the daily remuneration of the volunteers being deployed for the purpose from Rs 300 to Rs 500.
Extending her good wishes to the Hajj Pilgrims, the Chief Minister urged all the officers to ensure that the Pilgrims from the State receive the best possible support during their entire pilgrimage period right from their departure to the Holy Land and back.
Chief Secretary, B R Sharma, Incharge Director General of Police, S K Mishra, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Navin Kumar Choudhary, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Khan, IGP Kashmir, IGP Security, Kashmir, IGP Traffic and other senior officers of civil and police administration were also present in the meeting.