The residential buildings allocated to the pilgrims lack basic facilities
Hyderabad: Concerns arise regarding the responsibilities of the Haj Committee of India and State Haj Committees after the arrival of Indian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia. The recent arrival of the Haj 2023 pilgrims in Makkah has brought to light several issues and challenges faced by the pilgrims in their residential buildings. Azizia in Makkah has been designated as the accommodation area for Indian pilgrims, and approximately 3,750 pilgrims from Telangana have already arrived.
Despite claims of effective arrangements by the Haj Committee of India and the State Haj Committee, the reality experienced by the pilgrims has been quite different, with reports of hardships and difficulties. The residential buildings allocated to the pilgrims lack basic facilities, and there is a lack of supervisors available to address these issues. The Khadim-ul-Hujjaj, who are supposed to serve and guide the pilgrims, have allegedly been preoccupied with personal engagements upon their arrival in Jeddah, according to the pilgrims.
One major complaint raised by the Telangana pilgrims is the delayed activation of the SIM cards provided by the Haj Committee, which prevents them from staying connected with their families in India. Consequently, pilgrims are forced to acquire local SIM cards at an additional cost. Moreover, the residential buildings in Azizia suffer from problems related to toilets and kitchens. Many rooms are allocated with only one toilet and kitchen, which proves to be insufficient. Disturbingly, pictures sent by the pilgrims reveal the absence of toilet doors in the buildings. Additionally, overcrowding is a concern, with six to eight pilgrims assigned to a single room, raising the risk of negligence.
The pilgrims from Telangana have expressed disappointment with the lack of communication and support from the Khadim-ul-Hajjaj, leaving them with no avenue to voice their concerns. They have appealed to the Telangana government to coordinate with the Saudi authorities through the Ministry of External Affairs to ensure better facilities in the residential buildings.
Reports indicate that the difficulties began right from the departure at Hyderabad Airport. The cramped seating arrangements on Vistara Airlines’ smaller flights have caused great discomfort to the pilgrims, subjecting them to several hours of inconvenience. During the more than one-hour layover in Muscat, the pilgrims are reportedly not provided with any snacks and are left waiting on the flight.
It is crucial for the Telangana Haj Committee officials to promptly engage with the Saudi authorities and the Indian Haj Mission to address the issues faced by the pilgrims and ensure a more satisfactory experience for them.