Raja Syed Rather
Srinagar, Jun 06 : The first batch of 630 Hajj pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir will leave for Saudi Arabia on the annual Hajj pilgrimage on Wednesday, officials said.
For the first time in ten years, the Haj pilgrims will land directly in Jeddah. Executive Officer, Jammu & Kashmir Haj Committee, Dr Shujaat Ahmad Qureshi told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that two flights are scheduled to take off from J&K to Saudi Arabia—each flight will carry 315 Hajj pilgrims tomorrow.
“The first flight will take off at 3 PM while the other will take off at 5 PM,” he informed, adding that the pilgrims have been asked to arrive before six hours so that the necessary formalities are done well on time.
He added that for the first time, the lady pilgrims without Mahrams will perform the Hajj this year and at least 115 such pilgrims will leave for Saudi Arabia on June 09, 2023.
Around 10, 000 people from Jammu and Kashmir will perform the Hajj this year, as per the draw of lots held in the month of March, 2023. A total of 14271 applications were received for Hajj-2023.
It is for the first time after the gap of ten years that the pilgrims will land directly in Jeddah from Jammu & Kashmir while the authorities have also appealed to the pilgrims to carry their Ahram in their respective hand bags.
Talking to KNO, Director Srinagar International Airport Kuldeep Singh Rishi said that a separate area has been earmarked at the airport for taking the pilgrims from departure entry gate to the aircraft, and they have also provided segregated areas where pilgrims can wear their Ahram.
He said that special arrangements have been made to ensure a smooth and comfortable journey for the pilgrims. “A special check-in counter has been set up at Haj house Bemina for screening the baggage of pilgrims. Then pilgrims will be taken to the airport in AC coaches, and their baggage will be carried in separate sealed container trucks,” he said.
He added that custom clearance will also be undertaken at Haj House Bemina only so that congestion at the airport is avoided. “For Srinagar to Jeddah leg of the journey, the Airport Authority has deployed an Airbus A340, a wide-body aircraft known for its spaciousness and comfort.”—(KNO)