Chief minister Naveen Patnaik felicitates a pilgrim.
Picture by Ashwinee Pati
Bhubaneswar, July 13: A Haj house will be constructed in the state capital shortly for the convenience of pilgrims who embark on the journey.
This was announced by chief minister Naveen Patnaik at an event organised here to give a send off to the 688 persons, including 200 women, who are set to go for Haj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia this year.
"For the comfort of the Haj pilgrims, a piece of land has been identified in the city for the proposed Haj house. Construction will start shortly," he said. Official sources said that the land had been earmarked in the Pokhariput area of the city.
Efforts are on to set up an embark point at the city airport for Haj pilgrims and all arrangements are being made at Calcutta airport for the convenience of pilgrims from Odisha, said the chief minister.
Minister for minority welfare Ramesh Majhi said the state government was making efforts to ensure that Haj pilgrims could directly fly out from Bhubaneswar in future.
"We hope the arrangement will be in place by next year. The government was also planning to construct 100 multi-purpose community centres in the state for the benefit of the minority community."
Sources said the State Haj Committee has selected 688 pilgrims from among total 1,133 applicants. Of them, 572 were selected through a computerised lottery draw organised by the Committee on its premises in Cuttack.
One hundred and sixteen others were selected directly according to the standing guidelines of the Haj committee.
Last year, Naveen had appreciated the help extended by his Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee to Haj pilgrims from Odisha at the embark point in Calcutta.