Hajj packages become costlier for Bangladeshis this year

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Dhaka, May 11: The dedicated flights will carry all the Hajj pilgrims and Bangladeshi people intended to perform Hajj this year have to spend more money as the minimum cost under the government management has been fixed at Tk4,62,150—under private management—around Tk 94,730 more than that of 2020.

Besides, 100 percent pre-arrival immigration for Bangladeshi devotees in Saudi Arabia will be completed from Dhaka under the route of Makkah initiative.

The government has fixed minimum cost of Tk 4,62,150 for hajj package under government management, which is Tk 1,02,150 more than that of 2020.

Apart from this cost, each hajj pilgrim will have to spend an additional Tk 19,683 for Qurbani.

State Minister for Religious Affairs Faridul Haque Khan announced the hajj packages after a meeting of the executive committee on Hajj management at the Secretariat on Wednesday.

However, Tk5,27,340 lakh has been fixed as the maximum cost (Package No 1), Tk1,02,340 more than in 2020, under government management, the State Minister added.

According to Faridul Haque Khan, the minimum cost under private management has been fixed at Tk4,56,530 and the private Hajj agencies can announce more than one package in keeping consistent with the government packages.

“A total of 57,585 people can perform Hajj from Bangladesh this year. Of them, 4,000 will go to Saudi Arabia to perform holy Hajj in government management and 53,585 in private management,” he said.

The Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB), a platform of private hajj tour operators, will formally announce its hajj package rate at a press conference at a Dhaka hotel on Thursday (May 12), said its president Shahadat Hossain Taslim.

The government has kept its words as we demanded to carry all the pilgrims through dedicated flights instead of scheduled flights. Though we had paid air fare for dedicated flights but airlines carry Hajj passengers by scheduled flights. But, this year the government has decided to carry pilgrims through dedicated flights,” the HAAB chief told themorningbellbd.com.

According to Taslim, it’s a matter of great pleasure that Bangladeshi Hajj pilgrims are getting the opportunity to go to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj after two years.

Flights carrying Bangladeshi pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for Hajj will begin on May 31, said the Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry.

Biman will carry 31,000 pilgrims through 75 dedicated flights, said State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Md Mahbub Ali while talking to reporters after attending a meeting on Hajj management at the secretariat on April 27.

Earlier, Saudi Arabia raised the number of Hajj pilgrims from inside and outside the kingdom to one million in 2022, authorities announced in a statement on April 9.

Hajj is open to those who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and are under the age of 65, added the statement.

Pilgrims travelling from abroad will also need to have a negative PCR test certificate, taken no more than 72 hours before their departure for Saudi Arabia, the statement added.

Last year, only 58,745 pilgrims performed Hajj from across the world because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Before the pandemic, some 2.5 million people used to travel every year to Saudi Arabia for Hajj.

In 2019, around 1.27 lakh Bangladeshis were allowed to perform hajj.

However, due to the global Covid pandemic, the largest annual Muslim congregation was held on a limited scale in the last two years.