Friday, 03 January 2020 06:48

Lanka Hajj Committee to be service-oriented body

On instructions made by Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa, the National Hajj Committee will operate as a service-oriented body to serve Sri Lankan Hajj pilgrims, former Minister and present parliamentarian Faiszer Mustapha said in Colombo on Thursday.

Mustapha was speaking to the press following his meeting with the Hajj Committee Chairman Mohammed Faleel Marjan Asmi, who had met the Premier following the Committee’s visit to Saudi Arabia.

The lawmaker said that it is the wish of the Premier that the Hajj Committee should function as a non-profit making body, whose motto should be ‘service’ only. He hoped that the committee will do its best to offer the Hajj package at a rate affordable to Lankan pilgrims.

Last year the Hajj package cost over Rs. 700,000 for each pilgrim.

Hajj affairs of the pilgrims are attended by the Government of Sri Lanka, and the performance of Hajj is facilitated through a Hajj Committee appointed by the Minister in charge of the subject of Religious Affairs, which is now under the Prime Minister. This Committee takes the overall responsibility of ensuring services related to Sri Lankan Hajj pilgrims are satisfactorily managed.

The Hajj Committee for the year 2020, appointed by Premier Rajapaksa, comprises: Mohamed Faleel Marjan Asmi (Chairman), Mohamed Ahkam Sabry Uwaise, Seyed Ahamed Naqeeb Moulana, M.J Ahamed Fuward, and Thanga Udayar Abdul Saththar.

The key aspects of the Hajj Committee include negotiating with the Government of KSA to secure a reasonable quota for pilgrims for Sri Lanka, and liaising with all related authorities to ensure that full service is given to every pilgrim, especially with regard to timely transportation facilities and Mina and Arafat accommodation, and also medical facilities.

Mustapha said the members of Hajj Committee who arrived in Jeddah on 23 December 2019 were accorded a warm welcome by the Consul General and his staff. The Committee, he said, has bagged a quota of 3,500 Sri Lankan pilgrims, which is an increase over the earlier quota of 2,850 pilgrims.

(FT)

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