Bhubaneswar: As many as 731 pilgrims including 298 women from the state will go for Haj this year. According to sources, the State Haj Committee selected 731 persons for the 45-day pilgrimage to Mecca beginning mid-July.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today felicitated the selected Haj pilgrims at Jayadev Bhawan in Bhubaneswar.
Speaking on the occasion, CM Patnaik said "This year 731 pilgrims were selected for Haj in Mecca and Medina. The state government has made all elaborate arrangements for safe and secure journey of the Haj pilgrims.
Sources said 4 government officials will accompany the pilgrims and the State government has also made all arrangements for the boarding of the passengers to Saudi Arabia from Kolkata Airport since Bhubaneswar does not have direct flights.
It is to be noted that for the welfare of the Haj pilgrims, the state government has constructed a Haj House at Pokhariput. Earlier last month, the Bhubaneswar Airport Advisory Committee urged the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for Haj flights from Bhubaneswar for convenience of Muslim pilgrims in the state.
Last year, a total of 688 pilgrims were selected for the annual Haj pilgrimage.