First batch of Haj pilgrims fly to Medina
‘6,800 passengers will travel to holy place from M’lore, B’lore, Goa and Hyderabad’
The first batch of Haj pilgrims from Dakshina Kannada and nearby districts set off to Medina from the new terminal of Mangalore Airport on Friday at 11.40 am. For the first time ever in the history of Mangalore Airport, twin engine-wide bodied Airbus 310 carried 220 pilgrims from Mangalore to the holy city of Saudi Arabia.
The Airbus will fly daily for next four days carrying over 1000 passengers from Mangalore and will carry them back to Mangalore after 45 days. Speaking to media persons at a farewell programme organised for the passengers at the Old Terminal of the Airport, Haj and Wakf Minister S K Bellubbi said as many as 6,800 pilgrims from Karnataka will be travelling to Medina from four centers namely Mangalore, Bangalore, Goa and Hyderabad.
“The government has made all necessary arrangements for the convenience of the pilgrims. We are providing them the food, bus and other facilities,” he said.
On the developmental work taken up under his Department, the Minister said that the construction work of Haj Bhavan in Bangalore is under process at a cost of Rs 42 crore.
The government intends to build Haj Bhavans in other centers too in the next phases, he informed.
The pilgrims who had gathered at the venue were all eager to reach Mecca and Medina. There were several people who were at the Airport to leave to Medina and fulfil their long pending dreams of visiting the holy place, fighting all odds. P Abbas (71) from Puttur, retired PWD senior work inspector, who was carried in a wheelchair to the Airport, said paralysis disease had not curbed his dream of visiting Mecca and Medina.
“I had been planning to go to Haj from last four years and this year I have got an opportunity to go which I did not want to miss at any cost. I am accompanied by my wife and son and I hope that I will be assisted by fellow mates during my sojourn,” he said. Mangalore Qazi Thwaqa Ahmed Musliyar, Ullal Assistant Qazi Fazal Koyan Kura Thangal lead the ‘Dua’ prayer. State Wakf Board Chairman Riyaz Ahmed Khan, Yenepoya Abdullah Kunhi, MLA Ramanath Rai, Abhaychandra Jain were present.