Srinagar, June 04: In preparation for the upcoming Hajj pilgrimage in 2023, the Jammu and Kashmir Bank has made extensive arrangements for the exchange of Saudi Riyals to Indian Rupees (INR). The first flights for Hajj are scheduled to depart from Srinagar International Airport on June 7.
Syed Shafat Hussain Rufai, General Manager of Communications at J&K Bank, confirmed that the bank has established exchange facilities at 17 locations in Kashmir and five locations in Jammu to provide convenient currency exchange services for Hajj pilgrims.
Among the facilities available in north Kashmir is the Bandipora Main branch, where Hajj pilgrims can access the exchange service starting from June 5, 10:00 am onwards. In addition, the service is already operational at Old Chowk Kupwara, Uri Main, K B Adda Baramulla, Tangmarg, and New Colony Sopore. Specialized staff have been deployed at these locations to ensure a hassle-free experience for pilgrims.
Furthermore, Riyals can also be exchanged at various J&K Bank branches in Kashmir Division, including Srinagar IBD, Polo View, Hajj House, Bemina, Budgam Main, Pulwama Main, Kulgam Main, Shopian Main, Ganderbal Main, SSI Sadiqabad, Qazigund, and Bijbihara.
In Jammu, the exchange facility can be availed at Shalamar Road, IC Bari Brahamana, Doda Main, Doda, Poonch Main, Poonch, Rajouri Main. For Hajj pilgrims in Ladakh, the Leh and Kargil Main branches have been designated for Riyal exchange.
Previously, concerns were raised by Hajj pilgrims in Bandipora regarding the unavailability of exchange facilities. However, officials have assured that the Bandipora Main branch has been enlisted for the service, and banners have been put up to inform the public that the branch will start serving from Monday, June 5.
Additionally, the exchange service will commence at the Hajj house in Srinagar on June 6 and will continue until all the pilgrims have departed. To facilitate a smooth process, individuals seeking Saudi Riyals are required to provide a photocopy of their passport and PAN card. Each Haji can avail up to 10,000 Saudi Riyals. As the Hajj Committee of India has discontinued the provision of 2,100 Saudi Riyals per Haji this year, the availability and acquisition of Riyals have become essential. The bank has ensured public awareness through advertisements, social media posts, hoardings, and banners.
Moreover, Hajj pilgrims can activate international usage on their JK Bank debit cards, enabling them to withdraw 1,700 Saudi Riyals in cash per day from ATMs and make purchases of up to 4,300 Saudi Riyals per day using the JK Bank debit card, according to an official statement. “The prescribed limits can even be exceeded on the customer’s request if they want to,” he further added.
Syed Shafat Hussain Rufai, General Manager of Communication at J&K Bank, while talking to Rising Kashmir emphasized the bank's commitment to serving the people and facilitating their special journeys. The establishment of these exchange facilities aims to ease the process for pilgrims embarking on Hajj 2023.