Malappuram: A total of 11,413 pilgrims from the State would be able to perform Haj under the State Haj Committee as the Haj Committee of India (HCI) has allotted 100 more seats to Kerala.
An HCI spokesman said that 80 seats were allotted after some pilgrims from other States cancelled their journey. Moreover, considering the demand to include more pilgrims from the State, the HCI allotted 20 more seats.
Earlier, the State was allotted a total of 11,197 seats this year. The State Haj Committee is still expecting that the total number of seats would further be increased to 12,000 due to last minute cancellations by pilgrims from other States.
The HCI has also announced the final schedule of Haj flights, which would be operated from the Kochi airport. Saudi Airlines would operate services from August 13 to 26.
This year, Saudi Arabia has increased India’s annual Haj quota from 1.36 lakh to 1.70 lakh, biggest such expansion in last 29 years, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said in January.
An agreement in this regard was inked by Minister of State for Minority Affairs (independent charge) Naqvi with Saudi Arabia’s Haj and Umrah Minister Dr Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten at Jeddah in January 2017.
The Saudi authorities had five years ago slashed quotas for foreign pilgrims coming from each country by 20 per cent in view of safety of the devotees as they undertook expansion of Grand Mosque there.
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