Hajj flights | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 29, 2007 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 29, 2007

Editorial

Hajj flights

The same old mess-up

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IT is clear that performing Hajj has become an ordeal for a large number of pilgrims who have to fly to Saudi Arabia to attend the biggest and the most sacred annual congregation of the Muslims. Hundreds of pilgrims invariably find themselves stranded at the Hajj camp, thrown into a kind of uncertainty, as flights are delayed for this or that reason.
Strangely enough, the same problems arise every year as the authorities in charge of ensuring timely flights and getting clearance from the hosts on accommodation facilities learn little from the past mistakes. This year also it is the same sad story of a number of pilgrims remaining stuck for several hours at the Hajj camp waiting for the flights out to Saudi Arabia. We are told that a mechanical fault in a Biman aircraft is to be blamed for this complete mess. Why such things happen almost every year during the Hajj? Either Biman authorities are resigned to a poor performance or they have little sensitivity to the elderly citizens performing Hajj as part of their religious duty. Whatever may be the case, one would expect Biman managers to organise the Hajj flights in a more efficient way with fall back arrangements.
The mismanagement is hard to explain because Hajj is an annual event, which takes places at a particular time. So, only the authorities and people concerned know why they cannot prepare for it to avoid the kind of situation that we witness right now.
It is time the government looked into the matter with a view to lessening the miseries of the pilgrims, much of whose energy and enthusiasm is perhaps nipped well before they reach their destination. Yet, they have to pay for everything well in advance. The Biman authorities, in particular and the religious ministry in general, have to evolve a system to avoid dislocation in Hajj journeys and ensure that Hajjis are taken care of. It is essentially a matter of better planning and timely action. The authorities should start the preparations with a lead time to set everything on course.

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