Some 1,01,758 Bangladeshis will perform Hajj this year as the cabinet yesterday approved the drafts of the National Hajj and Umrah Policy, 1435 Hijri (2014 AD) and The Hajj Package, 2014.
The drafts were okayed making slight changes in the existing Hajj Policy, adding Umrah Policy to it.
The approval was given at the regular weekly meeting of the cabinet at the secretariat, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said a total of 1,01,758 Bangladeshis will perform Hajj this year.
Of them, some 10,000 pilgrims will perform Hajj under government arrangements, while 91,758 under private arrangements.
Under government managements, there will be two packages. In package one, the total costs will be at about Tk 3,54,316, while Tk 2,95,776 for package two. The total costs may vary due to fluctuation in exchange rates of the US dollar and Saudi Riyal.
For both the packages, the costs of qurbani (sacrifice of animal) of around Tk 10,500 will be added to the total costs.
In case of private management, the minimum costs should not be less than TK 2,95,776 so that minimum facilities could be ensured for the pilgrims.
The cabinet secretary said the number of hajj pilgrims is less in the current year than the previous year as the Saudi government has reduced the quota for hajj pilgrims by 20 percent due to massive renovation works at the Haram Sharif.
According to the Saudi government, the holy Eid-ul-Azha will be celebrated on October 4 this year in Saudi Arabia, subject to the sighting of moon.
The cabinet also okayed the drafts of the Rangamati Hill District Council (Amendment) Bill, 2014, the Bandarban Hill District Council (Amendment) Bill, 2014 and the Khagrachhari Hill District Council (Amendment) Bill, 2014.
Musharraf said there are three hill district councils for the country's three hill districts -- Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachhari.
These district councils have been constituted under three identical laws framed in 1989. Under these laws, there is a provision of formation of 34-member district councils through direct elections.
But the government could constitute interim councils if there was no elected council. As per the laws, these are being run by five-member small interim councils.
The proposed amendments have been suggested to strengthen the councils and run their additional responsibilities smoothly by increasing the size of the councils to 11 members, added Musharraf. He hoped the move will ensure bigger participation of all ethnic minority groups living in the three hill districts.