Lowest package at Tk 3.33 lakh
A pilgrim will have to spend a minimum of Tk 3,32,868 to perform hajj under private management this year -- around Tk 14,000 higher than that in the previous year.
The Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh, a platform of private hajj tour operators, yesterday announced its lowest package under private hajj agencies at a press conference at a hotel in the capital. Last year, the minimum cost was Tk 3,19,000. This time, the increase in airfare contributes to the increase in the total.
Besides, every haji under the private management will have to pay an additional Tk 11,175 for Qurbani (sacrificing animals) coupon of Islamic Development Bank in Saudi Arabia.
Earlier, on February 26, the cabinet approved the draft of Hajj Package-2018, fixing the maximum cost for a pilgrim under the government arrangement at Tk 3,97,929, which was Tk 3,81,508 last year.
The minimum expense under the government arrangement has been fixed at Tk 3,31,359, which was Tk 3,19,355 in 2017.
The civil aviation ministry on February 22 fixed this year's airfare for a pilgrim at Tk 1, 38,191, which was Tk 1, 24,723 in the previous year.
Speaking at the conference, Haab Secretary General M Shahadat Hossain Taslim demanded that the government decrease the airfare.
This year, aspirant hajis will have to buy trolley bags on their own. Last year, hajis had to pay Tk 2,500 each to hajj agencies to get trolley bags.
“Around Tk 30 crore was involved in the trolley bag business in 2017 and more than half of it was misappropriated by an influential quarter. That's why, we urged the religious affairs ministry to take this initiative allowing the pilgrims to buy their own trolley bags,” Taslim told The Daily Star.
Although Haab yesterday announced the lowest package, it said every hajj agency individually will announce the maximum cost for a pilgrim under their arrangement.
As per the agreement between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia, 1,27,198 Bangladeshis will be able to perform hajj this year. Of them, 7,198 are set to perform hajj under the government management and the rest are under private management.
Those who performed hajj or got hajj visas in the last three years since 2015, have to pay additional 2,100 Saudi riyals, equivalent to Tk 46,505, for performing hajj this year.
A hajj agency will be able to send maximum 300 and minimum 150 pilgrims from Bangladesh.
An aircraft can carry three hajj agencies' pilgrims maximum, according to the draft hajj and umrah policy 2018.
The registration of prospective hajis under private hajj management will start today, Haab secretary general said.
Asked, he said Haab hopes that hajj management will be fair this year comparing to the previous year as they will monitor activities of the hajj operations of different private hajj tour operators from the very beginning.