Guwahati, Sept. 20: Chief minister Tarun Gogoi today raised the grants-in-aid for the state Haj committee from Rs 35 lakh to Rs 50 lakh, in view of the increasing number of Muslim pilgrims from the state.
At a function organised to felicitate Mecca-bound pilgrims from the Northeast at Haji Musafir Khana here this evening, Gogoi said the workload of the Haj committee had increased manifold because of the rise in the number of pilgrims.
He said his government wanted to ensure a hassle-free journey for the pilgrims and had, therefore, decided to increase the grant to the Haj committee.
Altogether 3,730 Muslims from the region will go to Mecca this year. The first batch of 350 pilgrims will leave for Mecca on a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight from Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi international airport here tomorrow.
The last batch of hajis will catch the flight to Mecca on October 2. A pilgrimage to Mecca is among the five fundamental duties that every Muslim must perform.
Gogoi also announced an additional aid of Rs 1 crore to expedite the construction of Haj Bhawan in Jalukbari. The state government has already released Rs 2 crore for the construction of the bhawan where Hajis would stay before leaving for Mecca.
“At this moment, I can only appeal to the pilgrims to pray for lasting peace and prosperity in our state when they reach Mecca,” he said.
Haj minister Nazrul Islam said the government had made all arrangements to ensure a hassle-free journey for the pilgrims. Forest minister Rakibul Hussain, PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita, co-operatives minister Siddique Ahmed and the hajis together prayed for peace in the state during the function.