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POST TIME: 11 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 11 July, 2018 01:49:23 AM
PM opens hajj programme today

PM opens hajj programme today

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is set to inaugurate the Hajj Programme 2018 today at Ashkona in the capital as the religious affairs ministry has completed all the preparation. The ministry has taken various measures so that pilgrims can perform Hajj without any hassle this year, and many of the pilgrims have already arrived at the hajj camp in the city’s Ashkona to go to Saudi Arabia.

No additional flights will be allowed this year as per Saudi government directives, and the pilgrims will have to go to Saudi Arabia on their scheduled flights, as 24 dedicated hajj flights had cancelled so far last year, sources said.

“Around 1,000 pilgrims, who have scheduled flights on Saturday, have already arrived at the Hajj camp. We have completed all preparations to receive pilgrims,” Syful Islam, director, Hajj

Office in Ashkona told The Independent yesterday. He said the departments concerned had also completed security checking, as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would inaugurate the Hajj Programme-2018 today (Wednesday).

“We want to set an example this year so that pilgrims can perform hajj in a better way without any trouble compared to the previous year,” Islam said in reply to a query.

According to Islam, some 6,114 pilgrims under government management and 13,400 under private managements have got their visas.

This year, a total of 1,27,198 pilgrims—7,198 under government management and 1,20,000 under private management—will perform hajj from Bangladesh.

Mohibul Haque, acting secretary of the Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry, said, as per the directives of Saudi Arabia, no additional flights will be allowed this year. The pilgrims have to go to Saudi Arabia on their scheduled flight, he said.

Bangladesh Biman will carry 64,967 pilgrims in 187 flights, while the rest 61,831 pilgrims will go to Saudi Arabia by 188 flights of Saudi Airlines this year, he said.

The national flag carrier, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, and Saudi Arabian Airlines will carry the pilgrims on a fifty-fifty basis, Shakil Meraj, general manager (PR) of Biman told this correspondent.

According to the civil aviation ministry, Bangladesh Biman has already sold 52,000 tickets for hajj passengers, while Saudi Airlines has sold 46,755.

The pilgrims will go to Saudi Arabia through 528 hajj agencies and the first flight carrying the pilgrims is scheduled to leave on July 14 and continue till August 15. The return hajj flights are scheduled to begin on August 27 and continue till September 25.

The hajj is likely to be held on August 21 this year, subject to the sighting of the moon.

Meanwhile, the government has formed a 23-member ‘National Hajj Management Committee’, led by the Prime Minister, to oversee the implementation of the agreements signed under the National Hajj and Umrah Policy, 2018, and coordinate hajj activities.

The committee includes two ministers, cabinet secretary, principal secretary to the Prime Minister, 11 secretaries, Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) leaders and other high officials of the government.