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Nashik Airport could be next Haj Embarkation Point in India

The demand to include Ojhar Airport in the list of Hajj Terminals has been consistently raised by Nashik MP Hemant Godse

Thursday November 4, 2021 7:04 PM, Zohair M Safwan, ummid.com

Nashik Airport as Hajj Terminal

Mumbai: Nashik Airport which is owned and operated by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Ozar, some 20 kilometres from Nashik City, could soon be added in the list of Haj Embarkation Points.

The addition of Ozar (also spelled as Ojhar) Airport in the list of Hajj Embarkation Points will ease the difficulties Muslims from Nashik, Malegaon, Dhule and other cities and towns of North Maharashtra face while travelling to Makkah to perform the annual Haj rituals.

The demand to include Ojhar Airport in the list of Hajj Terminals has been consistently raised by Nashik MP Hemant Godse. Godse had in the last few months met Maharashtra Minorities Department and also Civil Aviation Ministry in New Delhi for the same.

"Positive Note of State Govt"

According to the office of Hemant Godse, Maharashtra government has already sent its positive report vis-à-vis inclusion of Nashik Airport as the next Haj Embarkation Point.

Godse had also recently met Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of Minority Affairs, New Delhi. The Ministry of Minority Affairs coordinates Hajj operations from India with the Haj Committee of India headquartered in Mumbai, and its various state units operating from different state capitals.

Hemant Godse’s office said Naqvi has prima facie given his nod to the proposal.

Earlier, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) had sent a report to the Civil Aviation Ministry, New Delhi saying that the infrastructure at Ozar Airport is ready for international flights.


"Immigration check-post"

Back in October 2020, a team of officials from the Bureau of Immigration (BoI) visited the Nashik airport in Ozar as part of its procedure before giving the permission for immigration check-post.

The BoI team visited the Ozar Airport to inspect the infrastructure and the facilities at the airport required for immigration check-post. Permission for immigration check-post is the first step before starting the international cargo and passenger facilities.

Use of Nashik Airport as Haj embarkation point was first discussed in 2010 when Mohammad Owais, then CEO of the Haj Committee of India, had visited Malegaon for the opening ceremony of the new college building for the girl students of Mansoora.

India sent a total of 200,000 Haj pilgrims through 22 embarkations points in 2019 when the last time Muslims could travel to Makkah including Mumbai and Aurangabad - the 02 Haj terminals in Maharashtra. Haj operations were scuttled in 2020 and 2021 because of the outbreak of Coronavirus Pandemic.

"10 Embarkation Points for Hajj 2022"

The Haj Committee of India has meanwhile started receiving application forms for Hajj 2022 from November 01, 2021. Announcing the start of Haj operations for the year 2022, Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also released the list of 10 Haj Embarkation Points finalised for Haj 2022.

The list has as of now only 01 embarkation point Mumbai for the pilgrims from Maharashtra. The other 09 embarkation points besides Mumbai are Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Lucknow, Cochin, Guwahati and Srinagar.

According to the Haj Committee of India, Delhi embarkation point will cover pilgrims from Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, western districts of Uttar Pradesh, Mumbai will cover Haj travellers from Maharashtra, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli

On the other hand pilgrims from West Bengal, Odisha, Tripura, Jharkhand and Bihar will embark for Haj from Kolkata Airport, those from Gujarat will travel to Makkah from Ahmedabad.

Bengaluru Airport will handle Hajis from Karnataka, and Chittoor districtz of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad International Airport will provide travel facilities to pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Lucknow Airport will look after pilgrims fromUttar Pradesh except western districts.

Pilgrims from Kerala, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Andaman & Nicobar will embark for Hajj from Cochin Airport, pilgrims from Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Nagaland will travel to Saudi Arabia from Guwahati Airport, and those Jammu-Kashmir, Leh-Ladakh-Kargil will take Haj flights from Srinagar International Airport.

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