The first batch of pilgrims for 2019 have departed for pilgrimage early Sunday via Zaee Hajj Group.
While 2,000 locals overall are set to depart for pilgrimage for the year, there were 84 people aboard the Sri Lankan airlines flight for pilgrimage.
In addition to Zaee Hajj Group, Maldives Hajj Corporation, Al-Haramain Hajj and Umra Company, Mina Hajj Umrah and Acro are authorised to send pilgrims on the Islamic pilgrimage. Accordingly, an advanced team of Thazkiya, Hajj Corporation and Al-Haramain will depart to Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
Out of the parties authorised to send pilgrims, more than 1,000 slots were given to Hajj Corporation, whereas the remaining slots were divided between the other groups. Ministry of Islamic Affairs revealed pilgrims will depart to Saudi Arabia up until the end of August.
According to the timetable released by the Islamic Ministry, Thazkiya and Al-Haramain will send the next immediate batch of pilgrims. Accordingly, Thazkiya will send 70 pilgrims and Al-Haramain will send 144 worshippers to Saudi Arabia on Thursday.
However, the Islamic Ministry revealed that the case submitted against Al-Haramain alleging the group of charging more money than they are authorised is still ongoing.
Al-Haramain faced stark controversy after a video recently circulated on social media of employees at Al-Haramain office voicing their concern that the company was taking MVR 100,000 from pilgrims, while they were only granted authority to take MVR 69,965 per head by the Islamic Ministry.
Maldives Police Service are investigating into the company for exceeding the fee.
Deputy Minister at Islamic Ministry Shafiu Ali said that no actions were taken against Al-Haramain over the case.
Meanwhile, Hajj Corporation is to send pilgrims to Hajj on upcoming Sunday.
Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) and Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) introduced special systems to ease pilgrims transport pilgrims to the airport.