Centre announced that it had not received any prior intimation from Tamil Nadu for inclusion of Chennai airport as an embarkation point for the Hajj pilgrimage next year.
Replying to a question raised by DMK leader T R Baalu in the Lok Sabha, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the embarkation points for the Haj pilgrimage has been reduced from 21 to 10 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic after considering the protocols prescribed by the Saudi Arabian government.
Making a Zero Hour reference, Baalu protested against scrapping Chennai as the embarkation point for the Haj pilgrimage and said pilgrims from Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and southern Andhra Pradesh will have to travel all the way to Kochi, which has been named as an embarkation point for undertaking the pilgrimage. "We have to go to Saudi Arabia to perform Haj. We have to follow the Covid protocol set by that government. We have done this keeping in mind the Covid protocol,” Naqvi said.
Also, "The Ministry has not received request from the state Government of Tamil Nadu to include Chennai Airport as an Embarkation Point. However, a reference has been received from S Venkatesan, MP, Lok Sabha, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, on the issue and the same has been suitably replied to,” he added.
"The arrangements and guidelines for Haj 2022 have been made under special circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Naqvi said.
The ministerfurther said that the provisions and restrictions included reduction in the number of embarkation points to 10 major airports – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Guwahati, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Srinagar.
(With PTI Inputs)