The government on Wednesday said the cost of hajj packages under both public and private managements has been reduced by 11,725 as Saudi Arabia has reduced a service charge for the intending pilgrims worldwide.
Pilgrims who will perform hajj under the government management have to pay Tk 6, 71,290 each to perform hajj this year after deduction of Tk 11,725.
Besides, those who will go under private management have pay Tk 6, 60,893 each after deduction of the amount.
Those who have already been registered for the hajj under the government management will get back Tk 46,725 from the hajj office in Dhaka when the price of food will be returned, said an official release of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
The private hajj agencies will return Tk 11,725 to each pilgrim who got registered earlier.
Meanwhile, the government has extended the deadline for hajj registration till March 27, it said.
The server of the hajj registration will automatically be stopped once the quota for the registration is filled.
Read more: Govt to reduce hajj package cost: State Minister
On the other hand, Bangladesh Bank asked the banks involved in the hajj procedures to keep their branches open on March 27.
On February 1, the government fixed at Tk 6, 83,018 as hajj cost for each pilgrim which was around Tk 1.61 lakh more the past year.
The increased hajj cost drew huge criticism as it is higher than that of the neighbouring countries.
Of them, Tk 1, 97,797 was fixed as airfare for each passenger.
The High Court on March 14 questioned how common people will perform hajj at the cost of the package set by the government.
It questioned, “Why doesn't the government allocate budgets for the hajj like other countries in the world?”
The High Court bench of Justice KM Kamrul Kader and Justice Mohammad Ali came up with this observation while hearing a writ petition over revising the hajj package offered by the government this year.
The HC asked the authorities concerned to take initiative to cut the hajj cost following a hearing on the writ petition on March 15.
On March 17, the Ministry of Religious Affairs gave directives to the authorities concerned to rationally reduce the airfare of Biman.
On March 19, Biman Bangladesh Airlines Managing Director Shafiul Azim said there is no scope to reduce the fare of hajj flights this year.