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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Govt will improve facilities for Haj pilgrims: Pranab

April 02, 2008

New Delhi, April 2: Government assured that it would improve facilities provided for Haj pilgrims in the wake of complaints of inadequate arrangements and indifferent attitude of some state-run agencies.

"I can assure you that whatever shortcomings have been pointed put by you will be addressed. We will try to improve the situation," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said at the annual Haj conference in New Delhi. He admitted that ‘sometimes it is not possible to get the best available facilities’ for the Haj pilgrims.

Before Mukherjee's arrival, several state Haj committee members had raised issues of indifferent attitude of Air India officials towards Haj pilgrims including unavailability of the holy 'zam zam' water and no parity in arrangements for Hajis. Mukherjee asked the state Haj committees to undertake proper orientation programmes for those undertaking the pilgrimage.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel asked the Haj Committee to understand the problems of the government before making allegations and assured that he would do whatever is possible to ensure that Haj pilgrimage is a smooth affair.

Patel said Indore would be the new embarkation point for Haj pilgrims in Madhya Pradesh. Mukherjee said Air India has been advised to deploy wide-body aircraft for ferrying Haj pilgrims. Earlier, some state committee members raised slogans against the government for being unable to provide sufficient facilities for Haj pilgrims.

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