(MENAFN - Arab News) India's Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed praised the efforts yesterday of Saudi Arabian authorities in completing successful Haj of the year.
"This year's Haj has been successful for all of India's pilgrims as much for all others coming from other parts of the world," said Ahamed.
He added that he represented India during the reception King Abdullah gave to prominent Muslim leaders and heads of Haj missions at his palace in Mina on Saturday.
Addressing press conference here yesterday, the minister, who is leading Indian Haj delegation, thanked Saudi authorities for allowing 152 Indian volunteers to serve Indian pilgrims in holy sites of Makkah.
As many as 169,971 Indian pilgrims performed the annual pilgrimage this year. They included 125,071 who came through the Haj Committee of India (HCOI) and 44,900 transported by private tour operators, said Ahamed who had a meeting with Minister of Haj Dr. Bandar bin Mohammed Hajar.
He said that 397 Haj pilgrims were initially reported missing and most of them have been reunited with their families. He also said that for first time that Indian pilgrims used the train service.
The minister said that 432 flights will operate to transport Indian pilgrims to India. Pilgrims are set to depart Nov. 1-29 from Jeddah's King Abdulaziz International Airport.
Pilgrims will leave Madinah Nov. 11 to Dec. 1. From Jeddah, Air India and Saudi will together have 257 flights, and from Madinah AI and Saudi together will have 175. An estimated 836 personnel are being deployed by Indian Mission to assist Haj pilgrims.
Ahamed said that 170,000 Indian pilgrims have arrived in Kingdom to perform Haj this year mostly through private tour operators.
India Consul General Faiz Ahmed Kidwai said that Haj mission Hospitals in Makkah and Madinah has treated 264,199 pilgrims as outpatients that include several Non-Indian pilgrims. About 150 Indian pilgrims were admitted to various Hospitals.
He said that total 12,130 missing baggage cases were reported in addition to 622 reports of lost money.
Interim relief of cash was provided to pilgrims who had lost money. The consul general also said that there were no transactions of sales have found with bogus website of animal sacrifice for Indian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia. The fake website was launched in India, he said, and the Indian consulate has alerted the authorities in India about the alleged fraud attempt.
Indian pilgrims are set to return home after performing Haj.
Ahamed said, "This time there have been a drop in the number of deaths during the Haj season (through) Monday."
There have been 109 deaths during the period as against 121 last year, said Ahamed.
"To date, two births took place - one in Makkah and the other in Madinah," he said.