• PTI

COVID-19: Naqvi calls for precaution, prevention and prayer to make Haj 2022 possible

Mumbai, Jan 8 (PTI) The selection process of Haj 2022 pilgrims will be done as per the complete vaccination of both the doses and criteria to be decided by the Indian and Saudi Arabian governments, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said here on Saturday as he called for the precaution, prevention and prayer to eradicate the COVID-19 pandemic and to make the annual Islamic pilgrimage possible this year.

He inaugurated a two-day programme for trainers of the Haj 2022 pilgrimage at Haj House in Mumbai.

Naqvi said that the entire Haj 2022 process has been chalked out with significant reforms and changes giving utmost priority to the health and well-being of the people. The Minority Affairs Minister, who is also deputy leader of Rajya Sabha, said in a statement that making the entire Haj 2022 process 100 per cent digital/online will be extremely beneficial to ensure the health and well-being of the people besides transparent, accessible, affordable and convenient Haj pilgrimage with pandemic precautions. The last date for applying for Haj 2022 is January 31. India is seeing a steady rise in COVID-19 cases. The country saw a single-day rise of 1,41,986 new coronavirus cases, raising the tally to 3,53,68,372, which included 3,071 cases of Omicron variant reported across 27 states and union territories so far, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday. People are applying for Haj online and also through the Haj Mobile App equipped with modern facilities. The Haj Mobile App has been upgraded with the tagline Haj App in Your Hand . The app contains several new features which include frequently asked questions, information to fill up the application form, videos giving information to applicants to fill up the form in a very simple manner, Naqvi said. More than 53,000 people have applied for Haj 2022 so far including more than 1,000 women who have applied under the "without Mehram (male companion) category. Naqvi said that the selection process of Haj pilgrims will be done according to the complete vaccination of both the doses and guidelines and criteria to be decided by the Indian and Saudi Arabian governments, as per COVID-19 protocols during the time of Haj 2022. The minister said that embarkation points for Haj 2022 have been reduced from 21 to 10- Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Cochin, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Srinagar. Naqvi also said that Digital Health Card, E-MASIHA health facility and E-luggage pre-tagging , providing all information regarding accommodation/transportation in Makkah-Madinah, will be provided to all the Haj pilgrims. Arrangements for special training for Haj 2022 regarding Coronavirus protocols and health and hygiene have been made in India and Saudi Arabia for the Haj pilgrims. He said that more than 3,000 women had applied for Haj 2020 and 2021 under without Mehram category. Their applications will be eligible for Haj 2022 also if they want to go to perform Haj 2022. Other women can also apply for Haj 2022 under without Mehram category. All the women under this category will be exempted from the lottery system. The two-day programme in Mumbai is being attended by 550 trainers, virtually and physically, from different states. Keeping in view the pandemic challenges, this training programme is focused on health and hygiene. Officials from the Haj Committee of India, the Royal Consulate of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, Customs, Immigration, airlines and doctors are informing about Do's and Don'ts during Haj pilgrimage. It includes information about transport, accommodation in Saudi Arabia and the laws of Saudi Arabia. These trainers will now train the Haj pilgrims in training camps across the country.