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Indian Hajis can travel for Holy Pilgrimage via Sea route again?

Mumbai: India is said to be mulling over resuming Arabian Sea Route option for Hajj. Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Friday said the Centre is “actively considering” a plan to resume _ after 22 years _ the use of the Arabian Sea route to ferry Hajj pilgrims to Saudi Arabia and consultations with the Shipping Ministry are already on.

Sea travel will cut down travel expenses by nearly half compared with air fares, he said. Besides ships nowadays are modern and well equipped to ferry 4,000 to 5,000 persons at one go. It must be recalled that the before 1995, sea route between Mumbai and Jeddah was open for Hajj. Later it was discontinued in 1995. Modern ships can cover the distance in just two or three days as compared to the older ships which used to take 12 to 15 days to cover this distance.

In 2017, a total of 1,70,025 persons will go for Hajj from India, including 1,25,025 through the Hajj Committee and 45,000 others through private operators.