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All pilgrims of India's Haj Committee get access to train facility
Friday October 11, 2013 11:56 AM, News Network

All Indian pilgrims who came under the country's Central Haj Committee will get access to Mashair train facility, according to Indian Consul General Faiz Ahmed Kidwai.

"We are extremely thankful to the Saudi Ministry of Haj and the South Asian Tawafa Organization for agreeing to our demand. We are now awaiting train tickets for the pilgrims," Saudi Gazette quoted Indian Consul General Faiz Ahmed Kidwai as saying.

Along with pilgrims from India, pilgrims from Pakistan will also use the Mashair train facility for this Haj while some pilgrims from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will be able to use the facility.

Kidwai said all preparations are on track for the movement of pilgrims to Mina on Saturday evening. He said the Indian mission's Haj operation plan is moving smoothly and there were no incidents or major complaints reported so far.

Indian Haj Consul Sheikh Muhammad Noor Rahman said that there are 34 maktabs (offices of mutawwif) for Indians pilgrims. "All pilgrims under 20 maktabs will use Mashair station No. 2 while the remaining pilgrims will use station No. 1."

He said that a total of 136,020 Indian pilgrims are performing Haj this year, including 121,420 traveling under the Haj committee and 14,600 under private groups.

A Saudi Arabian Airlines plane, carrying 266 pilgrims, from Jaipur landed at Jeddah Haj Terminal on Wednesday and this was the last group of Indian pilgrims.

A total of 61,000 pilgrims arrived in Jeddah and 60,800 in Madinah.

Those pilgrims who arrived in Jeddah will visit Madinah only after Haj. Rahman said that so far 51 Indian pilgrims died, of these 50 died of natural causes.

According to the consul, Indian Hajis will get tents at three locations in Mina. One is at Souk Al-Arab and Al-Jawhara Street area near Jamarat. The other two areas are near New Mina Hospital Street, and Royal Palace Street (King Abdul Aziz Street).

"Pilgrims under 18 maktabs will stay back in Mina on Dhul Hijja 12 and leave Mina only after the stoning ritual at Jamarat the following afternoon. If more pilgrims want to stay back, we will provide them transportation and other required facilities," he said, adding that notices were placed at the residential buildings of pilgrims to inform them about the arrangements in this regard.

Saudi authorities had directed earlier that a sizable number of pilgrims should stay back in Mina on Dhul Hijja 12, and this directive could be part of measures to avoid overcrowding in the Grand Mosque in the wake of space constraints due to the expansion of the mataf (area for circumambulation around Holy Kaaba).

[Photo Caption: The Saudi government has introduced the world class train service for hajis only few years back. Courtesy Saudi Gazette]

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