Bhubaneswar: As many as 731 Haj pilgrims would be fly this year to the holy places in Islam religion of Meeca and Medina at state government’s expenses.

The chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, announced while felicitating the selected Haj pilgrims, here at Haj House on Wednesday. The State Haj committee has selected  731 pilgrims, including 298 women,  for this year’s holy trip to Haj, said Patnaik adding the state government has made elaborate arrangement for safe and secured journey of the pilgrims.

The state government will send four officials along with the pilgrims who are set to go for Haj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia this year. The Haj pilgrims are slated to conclude their pilgrimage on July 29 and return to Odisha between September 2 and 12.

The pilgrims would board the flight to Mecca from Kolkata as  there is no direct flight from Bhubaneswar.