Uttar Pradesh government is going to set up state’s third Haj House in Varanasi for which Minority Welfare Minister Azam Khan is visiting the city on Sunday to finalise a site for the project.
Varanasi is the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
One Haj House is operational in Lucknow and carries out formalities for the pilgrims who board the flight for annual pilgrimage from the embarkation point in city. Another Haj House is under construction in Ghaziabad and is proposed to be used for pilgrims of western UP who use embarkation point of Delhi.
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Varanasi has an International Airport and around 8000 Haj pilgrims from eastern UP board the flight from Varanasi airport every year. At the time of departure, Varanasi district administration makes temporary arrangement for the pilgrims at Central Complex (Kendriya Sankul) building in the city.
Secretary, UP State Haj Committee, Zubair Ahmed said that decision for setting up a Haj House in Varanasi has been finalised and the government will bear the cost of the project. Ahmed said that district administration has shortlisted some sites for the building that will have the capacity to accommodate more than 12,000 pilgrims.
Varanasi district minority welfare officer Vinod Kumar Jaiswal confirmed that Minority Welfare minister Azam Khan will inspect the proposed site of the project on Sunday.
Pilgrims selected for Haj through lottery draw reaches their embarkation point a day before their flight schedule. They are provided accommodation and all the immigration related formalities —- which are processed at airport campus for general passengers —- are completed by airport authorities at the Haj house. Arrangement of medical facilities are also provided at the Haj House.
Ahmed said that around 15,000 pilgrims will take flight for Haj from Lucknow while another 7,000 will do the same from Varanasi this year. The Centre had fixed the quota at 22,898 Haj pilgrims for the current year. The first flight of pilgrims from Uttar Pradesh will take off from different destinations, including Lucknow, Varanasi and Delhi, on August 17.
The Haj House of Varanasi will be for the pilgrims of districts including Allahabad, Azamgarh, Ballia, Bhadohi, Chandauli, Deoria, Ghazipur, Gorakhpur, Jaunpur, Kaushambi, Kushinagar, Maharajganj, Mau, Mirzapur, Sant Ravidas Nagar, Sonbhadra and Varanasi.
Haj House of Ghaziabad will cater to pilgrims from Agra, Aligarh, Bijnor, Baghpat, Sambhal, Bulandshahar, Firozabad, Gautam Budh Nagar,Ghaziabad, Hathras, Mathura, Meerut, Moradabad, Muzaffarnagar, Hapur, Shamli, Rampur & Saharanpur.
Ahmed said that Haj House in Ghaziabad will be completed by end of this year.