1.57 people to perform Haj this year: Minister

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Kochi, Aug 7 (UNI) Union Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed today said as many as 1.57 lakh pilgrims would perform Haj this year from India.

Speaking to reporters at the Nedumbassery International Airport near here, Mr Ahamed said the government had arranged facilities to accomodate one lakh pilgrims at the holy land of Mecca.

Against the backdrop of development works at Haram Sheriff in Mecca, the Saudi Government had reduced the quota of pilgrims from various countries including India, he said.

Air India and Saudi Arabian Airlines will carry 51,000 and 59,000 pilgrims respectively, besides private operators transporting around 47,000 devotees from the country this year.

The Centre had allowed 17 airports across the country as embarkation points for the Haj pilgrims and a 360-member medical team including 200 doctors would assist the Indian pilgrims in the holy land, he added.

UNI XR MA MDG RL KN1840

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