Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today felicitated Haj pilgrims from Odisha who are set to go for Haj Pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia this year. Patnaik wished a safe and smooth journey of 688 Haj pilgrims including 200 women. Stating that his government is committed for welfare of people belonging to minorities communities, Patnaik said a Haj House will soon be constructed in the state capital.
Land for the purpose has been selected, he said. While the state government has been trying to have an embarkation point in the city airport, Patnaik said all arrangement have been made for the Haj pilgrims this time in Kolkata airport. "The state government has sanctioned Rs 5 crore for the development of educational institutions meant for minority community children. This apart, the government will construct 100 multi-purpose centres for Muslim people in next three years," Patnaik said. Meanwhile, sources said the state Haj committee has selected 688 pilgrims, including over 200 women, from Odisha for annual Haj this year. They were selected from among total 1,133 applicants, who evinced interest to go for Haj this year scheduled for September 2. Of the total pilgrims, 572 were selected through qurrah, a computerised lottery draw organised by the state Haj committee on its premises in Cuttack on Wednesday. 116 other people were selected directly according to the standing guidelines of the Haj committee.