Mangalore new boarding point for Haj pilgrims

First flight to Mecca from Delhi on Tuesday

The Union Government has this year added Mangalore as the new embarkation point for the Haj pilgrims. Till last year, Bangalore was the only embarkation point for the pilgrims from the State.

The Union Cabinet on Monday reviewed the arrangements made for the Haj pilgrims, who would start leaving for the holy city in Saudi Arabia from Tuesday. External Affairs Minister S M Krishna will flag off the first Haj flight to Mecca from the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi on Tuesday.

A meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh approved that the Haj operations for the current year would commence on Tuesday and continue till January 1, next year.

Subsidy scheme

Approximately, 1,23,211 pilgrims will travel to Mecca availing the benefits of the government’s subsidy scheme. Each of them will pay only Rs 16,000 as fare.

The remaining fare will be borne by the Union Government, according to an official release issued after the Union Cabinet’s meeting. Two new embarkation points have been added to the last year’s list of 17. Apart from Mangalore, another new embarkation point is at Ranchi in Jharkhand.

Air services

Official sources in New Delhi said the pilgrims would travel on Air India, Saudi Arabian Airlines and National Air Services of Saudi Arabia.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation is entrusted with the responsibility of providing air-travel facility to Haj pilgrims by the Haj Committee of India.

Sources said the Haj pilgrims  from  Mangalore, would be taken to Kozhikode from where they would board flights to Jeddah.

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