Amid lukewarm response from aspirant hajis, the religious affairs ministry yesterday extended the deadline for registration till April 8 to perform hajj this year.
State Minister for Religious Affairs Sheik Mohammad Abdullah came up with the announcement while talking to reporters at his office at the secretariat.
This was the second time the government extended the deadline for hajj registration, as only 35,000 prospective hajis registered till the last deadline of yesterday.
The registration process, that began on March 2, was supposed to close on March 15.
Due to low response from intended hajis, the ministry extended the deadline to March 25.
The state minister yesterday said aspiring hajis will get their money back if they fail to perform hajj this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.
A total of 1,37,198 Bangladeshis are scheduled to perform hajj this year which is likely to be held in July 31, depending on sighting of moon.
Of the total hajis, 17,198 are scheduled to perform hajj under government management, while the rest are scheduled to perform hajj under private management.
Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, hajj aspirants are unsure whether the holy congregation of Muslims will be held this year.
Hajj flights are scheduled to start from June 23.
Bangladeshis who wish to perform hajj will have to spend more for the pilgrimage this year, mainly due to the increase in airfare and visa fees.
The government on February 24 approved three draft hajj packages. Hajis will have to pay Tk 4.25 lakh for package-1 and Tk 3.60 lakh for package-2 under government management, which are Tk 6,500 and Tk 16,000 more than the corresponding packages of the previous year.
With affordability in mind, the government has also introduced package-3 for the first time, which hajis can avail at a cost of Tk 3.15 lakh.