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Govt to facilitate 125,000 Haj prilgrims in 2011

The government of India has announced Haj 2011 Operations, as is the case every year. It includes:

i) Number of Haj Pilgrims to be covered under the government subsidy this year will be 1,25,000.

ii) Fare to be charged from each of the pilgrims for Haj 2011 is Rs.16,000.

iii) Haj flights would be operated from 21 embarkation points during Haj 2011.

iv) Ex-post facto approval has been given for increasing the number of pilgrims to 1,26,191 for Haj 2010.

Ministry of Civil Aviation is entrusted with the responsibility of making air travel arrangements for Haj pilgrims proceeding for Haj through the Haj Committee of India.

For Haj 2011, Ministry of Civil Aviation has selected the airlines for undertaking Haj Charter flights through sealed tender process. Since only designated airlines of India and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) are permitted to carry Haj pilgrims from India to Saudi Arabia, the designated airlines of both the countries were issued the tender notice, Saudi Arabian Airlines and National Air Services (NAS), the two designated airlines of Saudi Arabia emerged L1 for 13 and 8 embarkation points respectively.

MoUs have been signed with these airlines for carrying the Haj Pilgrims. The pilgrims would be carried from India to Jeddah/Madina during 29.9.2011 and 31.10.2011 and from Jeddah/Madina to India during 10.11.2011 and 10.12.2011.

The number of Haj pilgrims going through the Haj Committee of India is decided by the Ministry of External Affairs which is the nodal Ministry for Haj matters. The cost of air travel of pilgrims undertaking Haj through Haj Committee of India is borne partly by the pilgrims and partly subsidized by the Government of India.

The cost/fare to be charged from pilgrims is decided by the Cabinet and collected by the Haj Committee of India and paid to the Government/airlines and the balance cost is borne by the Government, for which a budgetary provision is made in the annual budget of Ministry of Civil Aviation.

The number of pilgrims to be covered under this scheme and the number of embarkation points in India from which these pilgrims would board the flights is also decided by the Cabinet every year.

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