The first batch of Haj pilgrims was on Saturday flagged off by Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who said preparations for ensuring a smooth pilgrimage have been completed.

The first batch of 410 Haj pilgrims from Delhi left for Madina from the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Saturday morning. A total of 1,28,702 pilgrims will be facilitated by the government across India through the Haj Committee this year. Over 1,200 Haj pilgrims are scheduled to leave Delhi for Saudi Arabia in three flights on Saturday. Besides Delhi, 450 pilgrims from Gaya, 269 from Guwahati, 900 from Lucknow and 1,020 pilgrims from Srinagar will also leave for Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

Noting that Haj 2018 was being organised according to the new Haj Policy, Mr. Naqvi said it had made the entire Haj process transparent and ensured better facilities for the pilgrims. He said that despite the removal of the Haj subsidy and various new taxes imposed in Saudi Arabia, there was no additional financial burden on the pilgrims.

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