Saudi allows India's plan to ferry Haj pilgrims via sea route

Last Modified Tuesday, 9 January 2018 (05:52 IST)
New Delhi: Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Nakqvi on Monday said the has given its approval to revive the option of sending pilgrims via to Jeddah. Mr Naqvi said in his tweet after the signing of annual Haj agreement between India and Saudi Arabia in Mecca, that sending pilgrims through ships will help in reducing travel expenses, significantly.

'It will be a revolutionary, pro-poor, pilgrim-friendly decision,' the Minister said.The practice of ferrying between Mumbai & by waterways existed earlier, but was stopped from 1995.Officials from both the countries will discuss on all formalities and technicalities, so that Haj through sea route can be re-started in the coming years, Mr Naqvi said.

The Union Minister also said that for the first time, from India will go to Haj without 'Mehram' (male companion). 'Separate accommodation and transport has been arranged for these women Haj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia and women 'Haj Assistant' will be deployed for their assistance,' Mr Naqvi added. According to India's new Haj policy, women above 45 years of age, who don't have Mehram, are allowed to travel for Haj, in groups of women. (UNI)