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27 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Minimum cost for Hajj pilgrim Tk 3.98 lakh

Cabinet approves Hajj Package 2018
STAFF REPORTER

The Cabinet has approved the draft Hajj Package-2018 by fixing the minimum cost for a pilgrim at Tk. 397,929, up by Tk. 16,421 from that of the previous year, under government management. The Bangladesh Hajj-jatri and Haji Kallyan Parishad and the Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) have expressed their concern over hiking the cost of Hajj, including the air fare, for the pilgrims this year. They said the government should introduce a third carrier, along with Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Saudi Airlines, to carry Hajj passengers from Bangladesh to Saudi Arabia.  

The Cabinet's approval came yesterday at its weekly meeting held at the Prime Minister's Office. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chaired the meeting.

Each pilgrim now has to spend Tk. 397,929 for Package-1 under government management and Tk. 331,359 for Package-2 under private arrangement to perform Hajj this year, Cabinet secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam told reporters after the meeting. Private Hajj agencies cannot send pilgrims to Saudi Arabia at a cost lesser than the one approved by the Cabinet, he said.

A total of 127,198 pilgrims from Bangladesh will be able to perform Hajj this year. Among them, 7,198 will perform Hajj under government management and 1,20,000 under private management, the Cabinet secretary said.

According to Shafiul Alam, the air fare for each pilgrim from Bangladesh has been fixed at Tk. 138,198, which was Tk 124,723 last year. The minimum cost, excluding the house rent, for a pilgrim under private arrangement has been fixed at Tk. 168,277.

The Cabinet secretary said all pilgrims will have to carry machine readable passports for performing Hajj this year.

A Hajj agency could send a highest of 300 pilgrims and a minimum of 150 pilgrims from Bangladesh, he said, adding that an aircraft can carry the pilgrims of three Hajj agencies and three Moallems.

Shafiul Alam also said that pilgrims under private management will have to pay money for qurbani (sacrificing animal) through the coupons provided by the Islamic Development Bank in Saudi Arabia.

He mentioned that police verification for the pilgrims would not be required as the process had been conducted during the issuance of passports. He said a replacement could be made in case of death or complicated ailment of any registered pilgrim, adding that the number of such replacements must not exceed 4 per cent of the registered pilgrims.

About the increase in the air fare, religious affairs secretary Anisur Rahman said it has been increased following the hike in the price of jet fuel, devaluation of the taka against the dollar and other reasons. “It’s illogical to increase the air fare. The government could reduce the proposed air fare before approving it. We demand that a third carrier be introduced so that pilgrims could fly at a cheaper rate to perform Hajj,” HAAB secretary general Shahadat Hossain Taslim told this correspondent. Bangladesh Hajj-jatri and Haji Kallyan Parishad president Dr Abdullah Al Naser alleged that Biman is charging exorbitant fares from Hajj pilgrims.

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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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