The Jammu and Kashmir Government is holding hectic talks with the GoI to revive the option of sending pilgrims to Hajj via the sea route to Jeddah, after the gap of more than two decades.
Minister for Hajj and Auqaf, Farooq Andrabi is quoted to have said that the government is holding meetings with the central government as it is expected that the Hajj pilgrims will also be sent via the sea route to Saudi Arabi to perform Hajj.
“We are holding talks with the central government over the issue and next meeting in this regard is expected to be held soon. The meeting will finalise the details of the procedure related to sending the Kashmiri Hajj pilgrims to Saudi Arabi via the sea route,” Andrabi said.
The minister added that once the schedule gets finalised and nod given by the GOI, the pilgrims will be given an option about whether they want to travel via air or by sea.
The option of ferrying the pilgrims from the coastal city of Mumbai to Jeddah has been considered as the Supreme Court in a 2012 order asked the Centre to abolish by 2022 the airways subsidy offered to Haj pilgrims.
The government of India as per the reports, feels the sea route will help cut down the travel expenses.
The practice of ferrying devotees between Mumbai and Jeddah by waterways was stopped in 1995 on account of MV Akbari, the ship which would transport pilgrims, growing old.