E-system may not be fully in place for Haj
The chances that the Haj Ministry will be able to launch online system for Haj operations this year look grim.
“We are working to launch the electronic system for Haj operations from this year but are not certain if we will be able to do it,” Ali Al-Ghamdi of ministry told Arab News. He said a major part of the online portal job has been completed and a minor part, which is however crucial, remains to be completed.
According to Al-Ghamdi, the ministry is more than determined to operate online processing for Haj than any other foreign Haj mission. “But the ministry has to complete integration with all relevant ministries and also with foreign Haj missions,” he said.
The ministry is currently applying an e-tracking system on Umrah pilgrims that enables it to monitor the movement of pilgrims starting from visa endorsement in their countries to their stay in the Kingdom until their departure.
The electronic system for Umrah pilgrims has proved highly successful, according to Haj Minister Bandar Hajjar.
Abdul Wahid Saifuddin of the Pilgrim Establishment for Non-Arab African Countries said it would be more convenient and easy for all stakeholders if the Haj Ministry opted for electronic service.
Several foreign countries are waiting for the electronic mechanism to be applied for housing allocation.
Indonesia, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are among the major countries that send Hajis and have been urging the Haj Ministry to introduce electronic system for Haj operations, especially to handle housing allocation. Foreign Haj missions believe that electronic system will eliminate several hurdles.
Electronic system can not only expedite the arrangements for Haj pilgrims but also reduce the time and expenditure to visit Makkah personally by foreign Haj missions. Besides, it can effectively eradicate the role of middlemen in real estate dealings.