Indian Haj pilgrims face cooking problem in Makkah

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Indian Haj pilgrims are facing difficulty in preparing food in their accommodation for the last two days in the holy city Makkah. Saudi authorities started removing cooking gas cylinders from pilgrim’s accommodation in Aziziah area of holy city as a preventive measure. It is noteworthy to mention that most of fire mishaps originating in the kitchen were ignited by cooking equipment.

Saudi authorities started enforcing the cooking ban since 2016 in central area of Makkah known as Markaziah where once Indian pilgrims were accommodated. However, since the enforcement of ban in the area, Indian pilgrims accommodation moved to Aziziah area where cooking is allowed. Total of 49,192 Indian pilgrims camped in Aziziah as on Tuesday according to Indian officials.

Each floor in the building has a designated kitchen where pilgrims can use it, accordingly pilgrims were preparing food of their choice. However, local authorities found some pilgrims while cooking in non-designated areas in the building that could pose a hazard. Indian Haj officials were working with local authorities to solve the unexpected issue of cooking, according to official sources.

Saudi authorities have been emphasizing upon the use of ready-made packed food for pilgrims in a gradual manner to avoid cooking which is the source of fire incidents. Indian authorities had tried to serve ready-made food for pilgrims which proved to be unsuccessful as pilgrims didn’t like it due to different food habits and on the other hand it involved more expenditure and extensive logistic issues.

India is full of diversity. There are different food habits for the people unlike some other Asian and Arab countries that have common food habits. For Instance, Imli ka Khatta (Tamarind water) is most preferred for Hyderabadis and Matta rice for Malayalis, but both of these have no space in the staple of Northern India where majority pilgrims come from.

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