Most of the Haj Houses in the states were converted to Covid-19 quarantine facilities

NEW DELHI: The minority affairs ministry has converted most of its Haj Houses with the capacity to house more than 21,000 people in quarantine facilities as part of preparations to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Some Haj houses, such as those in Bangalore, are already being used to keep people in quarantine.

There are 16 Haj houses in all states and provide facilities for pilgrims to stay when they arrive from different parts of the country to embark on Haj each year. Now these buildings have been arranged according to the protocol for quarantine facilities.

Dr. MA Khan, CEO of the Haj Committee of India, said that, except in Mumbai and Hyderabad, where Haj houses also have offices and residences for staff, all other Haj houses meet the requirements in terms of providing facilities for isolated quarantine.

The decision to convert the Haj Houses into quarantine facilities by the minority affairs ministry followed the instructions of the cabinet secretary of the Union government to various line ministries. In a letter to various ministries early last month, among other activities, ministries were also asked to identify quarantine facilities.

Meanwhile, in the context of the pandemic, the government in the coming weeks will also have to attend Haj 2020, as 1.25 lakh of the 2.7 lakh applicants have been selected and have made the necessary payments. More applications would have been approved if the pandemic had not happened. But for the pandemic, the first flights from India to Saudi Arabia They were scheduled to take pilgrims in June.

Given the current circumstances, the government is likely to take a final call on the 2020 Haj around May. The ministry of minority affairs is also awaiting a response from Saudi Arabia . However, the minority affairs minister made it clear that if both India and Saudi Arabia decide to suspend the Haj for this year, then, those who have registered for the Haj will be reimbursed the money they have submitted while registering for the pilgrimage and whatever losses happen will be borne by the Haj Committee of India . >