Thursday, 23 May, 2024
Thursday, 23 May, 2024
The Daily Post

Hajj travel gets financially complex for BD pilgrims

Staff Reporter

Hajj travel gets financially complex for BD pilgrims


-80 pc pilgrims not applied for visas; deadline is April 29

-Hajj cost increases beyond ability


This year, Eid-ul-Adha may be on June 16, depending on the sighting of the moon. Saudi Arabia set a 1 lakh 27 thousand 198 Hajj quota for Bangladesh this year. This time, 85 thousand 257 people are to go for Hajj from Bangladesh. The first flight of Hajj will be on May 9. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will officially inaugurate the Hajj program on May 8. For that purpose, the Ministry of Religion Affairs ordered to complete the visas of all pilgrims by April 29.

Meanwhile, the Hajj quota is not being met due to the increase in the cost of Hajj. According to media sources, 78 thousand 895 pilgrims have privately registered for Hajj this year. Among them, only 1600 applied for visas. 62 thousand 895 people or 80 percent of pilgrims have not yet applied for the visa. On the other hand, 4 thousand 283 people have registered officially.

It was reported that the Saudi government has set a minimum quota of 250 pilgrims for a Hajj agency in Bangladesh for the first time this year. At the same time, the pilgrims have been asked to deposit the entire amount of the expenses of the Saudi Arabia phase in the bank account indicated by the Ministry of Religion. But no Hajj agency could deposit the entire amount for the cost of the Saudi stage. Again, the amount deposited was not deposited in time as IBAN of Hajj agency for house rent. Besides, most of the Hajj agencies could not register 250 pilgrims; similarly, Monajjem visas are not available this time. As a result, this year's Hajj has created various complications. A dispute has arisen between the Ministry of Religion and the Hajj agencies. Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) also held a press conference on this last Tuesday night.

According to sources from the Ministry of Religion and the Hub, this is the first time that the Ministry of Religion is sending the entire cost of the Hajj pilgrims to Saudi Arabia through the Bangladesh Bank. The money will then be transferred by the Saudi government in Saudi Riyal as the IBAN of each agency. There are complications with this. The Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) has announced two Hajj packages at the private level for this year. The cost of a package (normal) is estimated at Tk 5 lakh 89 thousand 800. In the other package (special) cost is estimated at Tk 6 lakh 99 thousand 300. Out of this, the cost of the first package for house rent, transportation, teacher's fee, food, and other charges in Saudi Arabia is Tk 3 lakh 75 thousand 657. In the second package, it is Tk 4 lakh 79 thousand 740. The Saudi government has requested the entire money for the cost of the Saudi phase through the Ministry of Religion.

This year, 259 Hajj agencies have been registered in the Saudi E-Hajj system to send Hajj pilgrims. Among them, the Ministry of Religion wrote to 35 agencies on Thursday and said that the amount of money deposited by these agencies to meet the expenses of the Saudi phase cannot be concluded with the Hajj service organizations within the time limit set by the Saudi government. There is a fear that the journey of Hajj pilgrims to Saudi Arabia will become uncertain. Similarly, letters were given to 94 agencies on April 3.

Meanwhile, on March 10, HAAB informed the Minister of Religion in a letter that the Hajj agencies in Dhaka had deposited money. That money is supposed to be sent in Saudi Riyals by February 25. But no Riyal has been deposited as IBAN of the Hajj Agency of Saudi Arabia. This may cause complications in the Hajj management if the landlord and Muallim cannot be selected at the specified time.

According to sources in the Ministry of Religion, about TK 2,900 crores need to be sent for the expenses of the Saudi phase of Hajj this year. But more than half of the money has not been deposited yet. As a result, the agencies which have not yet deposited the money have been directed to deposit the money by 21 April.

Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Religion, Matiul Islam, said I have met six times with the agencies to deposit the money for the expenses of the Saudi phase, and have also written many times. Still, the full amount was not deposited. He said, the application was made for a Monajjem visa. However, the Saudi government did not issue Monajjem visa this year. As a result, the agencies are renting houses through their Umrah visas.

Owners of several Hajj agencies said that many Hajj agencies only send Hajj pilgrims. Due to this, the lead agency has to face various kinds of trouble to collect the deposit of pilgrims. Hajj pilgrims also suffer difficulties when an agency does not pay money on time. Since this year many Hajj agencies have to take over the responsibility of a few agencies, the Ministry of Religion has to supervise it properly.