[Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi while launching the Haj website on December 20, 2016. (File Photo)]
Mumbai: Launched with much fanfare, Modi government's 'trilingual' Haj website does not have the Urdu pages whereas the link to supposedly Hindi section takes visitors to Ministry of Minority Affairs regular portal though well designed English pages are online and accessible to the visitors.
Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi launched haj.gov.in on December 20, 2016. The official government release issued on the same day claimed that the Haj website launched to streamline the process is trilingual i.e. in English, Hindi and Urdu.
Visitors of the haj.gov.in - the official website of Haj division of Ministry of Minority Affairs, Govt of India however were shocked to learn that the government's claim is untrue and there are no Urdu pages on the website except few titles and logos in the language.
Ironically, a link with title marked in Hindi takes the visitors to regular Hindi website of Minority Ministry. The website though has some photos related to Haj affairs lacks other Haj related information which are available in English language on haj.gov.in.
When ummid.com contacted J. Alam, IAS, Joint Secretary (Haj & Waqf), Ministry of Minority Affairs on the telephone number mentioned in the website, his PS first said that the Urdu and Hindi pages are very well there along with English. When countered, she advised to talk to Ravi Chandra, Under Secretary at the ministry.
Ravi Chandra on his part said that 'Google Translated' Urdu pages are there and visitors can access them from the home page.
"There is an option on the website clicking which you will get the Urdu translation of the English pages", he said while talking to ummid.com on phone.
When it is pointed out that even the Google Translator facility is missing from the page, Ravi Chandra cross-checked and said the option was there but it must have been removed.
"It was giving some errors. Hence NIC which looks after all government websites must have temporarily removed the option", he said.
He also said that 'Google Translator' was added to the website temporarily and work is in progress to upload fully translated Urdu and Hindi pages like the regular Ministry website.
"It will take about a week's time before everything is commpleted. Visitors would be able to see Urdu pages very soon", he said.
Information for all Haj related news, allotment and flight schedules have been so far shared for the Haj pilgrims on Haj Committee of India website. The Haj affair was also handled by External Affairs Ministry till Haj 2016.
The Modi government however transferred the Haj affair to Ministry of Minority Affairs. The Ministry launched the new website even though Haj Committee of India was still live and successfully running.
"Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the Minister of State(I/C), Ministry of Minority Affairs, launched the trilingual website www.haj.gov.in relating to Haj Matters here today. The website is in Hindi, Urdu and English languages", official statement released on December 20, 2016 said.
More than 01 lakh pilgrims go to Haj every year through Haj Committee of India. The launch of the trilingual Haj website was hailed as majority of pilgrims who go to Haj from India are Urdu speaking.
About two weeks after launching 'trilingual' Haj website Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also launched 'Haj App' on January 02, 2017.
"The app would bring all Haj related information to the fingertips of users. People can apply for Haj, seek relevant information, news and updates and can make e-payment through the app", Naqvi said.
The app can be downloaded from Google Playstore.
"The central government has been encouraging online applications to ensure fair opportunity for the pilgrimage with complete transparency and comfort. For the first time, Haj application process is going to be digital," he added.
Meanwhile, the Haj Committee of India has started receiving application for the Haj 2017 from January 02, 2017. Duly filled applications can be submitted online and offilne. Last date of application is January 24.