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14 August, 2017 12:35:52 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 14 August, 2017 09:28:48 AM
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Over 22,000 pilgrims may be left out

Hajj this year
ANISUR RAHMAN KHAN
Over 22,000 pilgrims may be left out

Uncertainty looms over the fate of around 22,000 pilgrims who planned to perform Hajj this year, thanks to mismanagement and negligence on the part of the Hajj agencies. There are only 12 days in hand to fly 66,698 more Bangladeshi pilgrims to Saudi Arabia. Sending all such pilgrims within this short period would create problems. Leaders of the Bangladesh Hajj Passenger and Hajji Welfare Association expressed their grave concern about the fate of the Hajj pilgrims.

Around 3,500 pilgrims are yet to get police clearance, while 3,500 pilgrims’ replacements are yet to completed. Besides, 14,699 pilgrims are yet to complete their visa lodgment.

As the leaders pointed out, if the problems are not solved within the stipulated period, some 22,000 pilgrims would not be able to perform Hajj this year.

Meanwhile, a total of 1,12,499 pilgrims (out of 1,27,198) has applied for visa lodgment till yesterday, the last date of visa lodgment.

Though the Saudi Arabian embassy has issued visas to 1,03,379 pilgrims till August 13, around 42,879 pilgrims are still waiting to fly to Saudi Arabia despite getting visas, thanks to negligence on the part of the Hajj agencies, it has been

alleged.On the other hand, Biman Bangladesh Airlines has frequently cancelled flights because of the shortage of Hajj passengers.

Biman yesterday, too, cancelled one flight—BG 9029—scheduled to fly at 2:05pm because of the crisis over Hajj pilgrims.

Sources said around 14,699 pilgrims are yet to file their visa lodgment though the deadline ended yesterday. Besides, 3,000¬–¬3,500 pilgrims are yet get police clearance in their respective areas.

The sources further said that the authorities are yet to complete the replacements of about 3,500 pilgrims.

Meanwhile, the government claimed that all the pilgrims have completed visa lodgment, which are now awaiting approval at the ministry of foreign affairs.

“If the 7,000-odd pilgrims who are awaiting police verification clearance and replacement fail to fly, it would be difficult to maintain quota next year,” Dr Abdullah Al Naser, president of Bangladesh Hajj Passenger and Hajji Welfare Association, told The Independent yesterday. He said some 60,500 pilgrims have left Dhaka for Saudi Arabia till yesterday.

“Only 12 days are in hand to fly 66,698 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia. A total of 60,500 Hajj pilgrims have left Dhaka for Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj,” he said in reply to a query. He urged the government to send all the passengers in the proper time.

The secretary-general of the Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB), Shahadat Taslim, said that it was the responsibility of the Hajj office to complete the visa lodgment. “I will write to the Hajj office today regarding police reports. I will request them to issue visas and the agencies concerned will take the passports after submission of police reports,” he said in reply to a query.

When asked about the logistical issues involved in ferrying such a huge number pilgrims within a short time, he replied, “It is the responsibility of the Biman authorities. If they are not capable, why are they not allowing a third carrier?”

“The process of visa lodgment has been completed. There will be no problem in sending all the passengers,” claimed Hajj officer Syful Islam yesterday. Meanwhile, Biman Bangladesh Airlines cancelled one of its scheduled flights yesterday as a result of the shortage of passengers.

“BG 9029 was scheduled to fly at 2:05pm today, but it was rescheduled due to the Hajj passenger crisis,” Shakil Miraj, general manager of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, told this correspondent. A total of 1,27,198 Hajj pilgrims from Bangladesh is scheduled to perform Hajj this year.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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