POST TIME: 4 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 4 July, 2018 12:30:51 AM
Hajj: Swift and strategic drives needed now

Hajj: Swift and strategic drives needed now

The holy ritual of Hajj is still some time away and unless preparations are started now, thousands of pilgrims from Bangladesh may face woes. In almost all past events of Hajj, pilgrims of Bangladesh suffered hugely as the government failed to manage the events in many respects. This year the government under the direct supervision of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would manage the event that might make performance of Hajj by the pilgrims less problematic.

Yet according to reports, 13000 may miss the hajj which will create dismay among a lot of Bangladeshis. It has also come to light that of the registered 536 agencies, 500 have not submitted passports of pilgrims as yet. This is an early sign of a chaos that may take place in the days to come. Also, about 200 agencies did not start the process to fix accommodation for Bangladeshis in Saudi Arabia. In addition, the replacement facility approved by the government is four percent against the demand for 20.

With the holy congregation only a few months away, swift actions are required with the first being a clear cut directive from the government.

Agencies need to act fast, submit passports and, also confirm residence for Bangladeshis in Saudi Arabia by early August. The entire operation of Hajj also requires smooth logistical support. This year the flights are supposed to start on July 14 with the last pilgrim carrying plane on Aug 7.

The civil aviation ministry should take up steps from now on to formulate a separate hajj flight schedule so that pilgrims are spared from unnecessary inconveniences. One other step may be to open a totally different entry point for pilgrims at the airport in order to serve them separately from ordinary passengers.

National carrier Biman has issued 40 thousand tickets for pilgrims and, hopefully, other airlines’ will also offer special flights. However, the replacement issue is a headache which needs to be addressed immediately. To minimise the hassle of pilgrims, the agencies may introduce home pick and delivery of passports. Practically speaking, if there’s a set template chalking out what needs to be done with time and deadlines, then the elaborate formalities surrounding Hajj can be seamlessly blended.