First Haj flight from Kerala takes off
Kozhikode, Oct 30 (IANS) The first flight carrying 419 Haj pilgrims from different parts of Kerala took off from Kozhikode International Airport for Saudi Arabia Thursday afternoon.
'This is the first batch of pilgrims who are going for the pilgrimage arranged through the State Haj Committee this year,' A.K. Abdul Hameed, chairman of the Haj Committee, told IANS.
Air India will operate 25 flights from here ferrying around 9,500 Muslim pilgrims from Kerala, Lakshadweep and Mahe, a small Union Territory enclave in Kerala.
The last Haj flight will leave Nov 16.
'The State Haj Committee has selected 7,208 people for the pilgrimage from Kerala,' Hameed said.
The government provides a subsidy for the pilgrimage undertaken through the committee.
'I can't give the exact figure of the subsidy as it varies from person to person based on factors like place of stay and other things. The flight charge is only Rs.12,000,' Hameed said.
Muslims constitute around eight million of Kerala's total population of 31.8 million.
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