Pvt hajj package: Cost goes up by Tk 1.5 lakh
The cost of performing hajj this year under a private agency will be at least Tk 6.72 lakh, about Tk 1.5 lakh more than the minimum cost last year.
Besides, a pilgrim will have to pay an additional sum to the Islamic Development Bank in Saudi Arabia for a sacrificial animal, said the Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB), which has around 1,500 members.
This year, 1,27,198 people will get to perform Hajj from Bangladesh.
Around 15,000 of them will perform hajj under the government management and the rest under private management, the association told a press conference.
The cost of pilgrimage under the government management reached Tk 6.83 lakh this year, the religious affairs ministry announced earlier.
Announcing the hajj packages yesterday, HAAB President M Shahadat Hossain Taslim said every pilgrim taking the base package will be accommodated at a maximum distance of 1.5km from the boundary of the outer premises of the Holy Haram Sharif.
Any additional fees imposed by the Saudi Government will be paid by the pilgrim, he said.
Hajj agents will be able to announce special packages on their own, but the cost will not be below the minimum rate, he added.
Last year, the minimum cost of hajj under the private agencies was Tk 5.22 lakh.
Shahadat said the cost was raised because of the current airfare, rent in Saudi Arabia, service charges, Muallem fees, and the prices of Zamzam water, food and other things.
The new exchange rate of Saudi Riyal, 15 percent VAT on all charges, and imposition of taxes by the Saudi authority are also the reasons why the minimum cost increased, he said.
Earlier on Wednesday, the government set the minimum cost at Tk 6.83 lakh under the government management, around Tk 1.61 lakh more than the previous year.
Depending on the moon sighting, hajj will be held on July 27. People aged 65 or more will be allowed to perform hajj this year.
The registration of private hajj pilgrims will start from February 6, Shahadat said, requestingthem to either deposit the entire amount to the bank accounts of the agents or directly pay the agency and save the receipt.
The pilgrims' passports should be valid until December 27, he added.
Health exams, meningitis and influenza vaccination certificates will be required for every pilgrim, he also said.
In 2019, around 1.27 lakh Bangladeshis were allowed to perform hajj. However, due to the Covid pandemic, the largest annual Muslim congregation was held on a limited scale in 2020 and 2021.