The state Haj committee and Haj Committee of India, who prepared an action plan for the pilgrims, are waiting for a green signal from the government of Saudi Arabia to sign up the bilateral agreement. (Represenatational Image/AFP)
HYDERABAD: The state Haj committee has received 4,300 online applications from aspiring pilgrims for Haj scheduled on July 9, this year. The Haj committee had closed receiving online applications on February 15 itself.
After a Saudi-based newspaper ‘Saudi Gazette’ on Wednesday published a report `Pandemic is on the verge of ending’, chances have gone brighter for the Haj pilgrims who have been eagerly waiting for the last two years for the spiritual retreat.
The state Haj committee and Haj Committee of India, who prepared an action plan for the pilgrims, are waiting for a green signal from the government of Saudi Arabia to sign up the bilateral agreement. Sources in the Haj committee revealed that the bilateral agreement between both the governments scheduled for the first week of January got postponed to the last week of February.
"We are waiting for a green signal from the Saudi government. There are positive changes and we will strictly be following Covid norms. The Haj Committee of India and state have decided to allow 25 pilgrims in buses instead of 50 both in India and Saudi Arabia," B. Shafiullah, executive director of state Haj committee said. Instead of four-metre distance, nine-meter distance would be maintained while providing accommodation to the pilgrims as well, he said.
Reliable sources said if everything worked out, a Building Selecting Team (BST) from all the four zones of India would visit Saudi Arabia and arrange accommodation for pilgrims. There are two categories of pilgrims - green category (within one kilometre of Haram-Al-Sharif) and Azizia category. However, this year only Azizia category will be permitted and the state committee lifted age barrier for pilgrims.