Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs & Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today said that the new Haj policy-2018 will be unveiled this month.
At a review meeting on Haj 2017 and 22nd annual Haj orientation camp organised for pilgrims at Haj House in Mumbai yesterday,Naqvi said that from the next year, the pilgrimage will be organised according to the new Haj policy only. A high-level committee, constituted to frame the new Haj policy, is in final stages of shaping the policy and it will be unveiled this month. Naqvi said that the new Haj policy is aimed at making Haj process more transparent and smooth and pointed out that providing best facilities to the pilgrims. He also said that reviving the option of sending Haj pilgrims through sea route also is one of the important part of the new Haj policy. Sending pilgrims through ships will help cut down travel expenses by nearly half as compared to airfares, he observed and said it will be a revolutionary, pro-poor, pilgrim-friendly decision. The practice of ferrying Haj pilgrims between Mumbai and Jeddah by waterways was stopped from 1995. Another advantage with ships available these days is they are modern and well-equipped to ferry 4,000 to 5,000 persons at a time, the Minister said. They (ships) can cover the 2,300-odd nautical miles one-side distance between Mumbai and Jeddah within just two-three days, he said and informed that earlier, the old ships used to take 12 to 15 days to cover this distance. During the review meeting, Naqvi discussed in detail all the issues related to Haj pilgrims with the concerned officials.