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HindustanTimes Wed,30 Jul 2014

Kashmir Haj pilgrims to fly directly from Srinagar

Ashiq Hussain, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, September 11, 2012
First Published: 20:54 IST(11/9/2012) | Last Updated: 20:55 IST(11/9/2012)

Haj pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir can undertake the spiritual journey to Saudi Arabia from Srinagar directly from September 17 in Indian Airlines flight daily to the holy land for this year's pilgrimage.

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"The direct operations of Haj flights by the Indian Airlines would make the pilgrimage smooth and relieve the intending pilgrims of the burden of transshipment from one aircraft to another," said chief minister Omar Abdullah, who is also chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir State Haj Committee.

Pilgrims in the past had to board the Jeddah flight from Delhi.

Directing the State Haj Committee to provide best possible facilities to the pilgrims, Abdullah said that every care should be taken for their accommodation, stay at Haj House, immigration and custom clearance.

"Haj Committee shall publish a guide book for the pilgrims indicating details of the facilities, emergency service, enquiry and related issues that would prove helpful to them in Saudi Arabia during the performance of the Haj," the CM was quoted by his government's spokesman.

Commissioner secretary Haj and Auqaf, BA Runiyal gave details of the arrangements and preparedness for the pilgrimage this year.

He said that the first Haj flight will be from Sept 17 this year and every day 270 pilgrims will be carried from Srinagar to Saudi Arabia.

He said one flight is scheduled for one day. However, he added that two Haj flights would be operated for eight days.

The Haj quota for the state has been increased from last year's 8,441 to 8,670, highest in last four years. In addition, private Haj operators are also facilitating travel for 500 intending Haj pilgrims.

It was in 2009 when first international flight took off from Srinagar Airport to Dubai after being inaugurated by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

But, all international flights were grounded owing to various reasons including objections by Pakistan over using its airspace.


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