The season's first Haj flight carrying 300 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia was flagged off today from the international airport at nearby Nedumbassery by local administration minister K T Jaleel. The Saudi Airlines flight, which departed at 7.40 AM, carried 300 pilgrims including 139 men and 161 women. A total of 11,800 pilgrims will be going on the Haj pilgrimage through the Nedumbassery airport this season. These include 305 faithful from Lakshadweep and 32 from Mahe, which is part of Pondicherry. Central Haj committee co-ordinator and Lok Sabha MP E T Muhammed Basheer, Anwar Sadath MLA, state Haj committee chairman Thodiyoor Muhammed Kunju Maulavi, Executive Officer Amit Meena, CIAL Executive director A C K Nair and Haj committee members were present. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had inaugurated the Haj camp at the airport yesterday. In his speech, Vijayan had cited the increased number of applicants for Haj pilgrimage from Kerala and urged the Central government to allocate more haj quota for the state. He said the state government has made all arrangements for smooth conduct of the pilgrimage from Kerala.
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