The Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) on Sunday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina seeking her intervention to reset the airfare in this year's hajj package. The letter signed by M Shahadat Hossain Taslim, president of the association, was submitted to the Prime Minister's Office on Sunday. Earlier on November 2, State Minister for Religious Affairs Md Faridul Haque Khan announced 'Hajj Package-2024' at a press briefing held at the Secretariat. Hajj packages for 2024 to be cheaper This year, the hajj package has been fixed at Tk 5,78,840 under the government management and Tk 9,36,320 under special arrangement, with the airfare of Tk 1,94,800, Tk 2,997 less than last year’s airfare. “Though the airfare was reduced compared to the last year, it is possible to reduce it further considering various factors. As Biman is a commercial organization, the HAAB central executive council thinks that fixing fare under their sole authority was not appropriate,” reads the letter. Bangladeshis can perform Umrah with transit visa: Saudi Hajj Minister At present, the airlines are selling Dhaka-Jeddah-Dhaka return tickets for around Tk75,000, the letter says, "They are operating flights with about remaining 20 percent seats vacant." On the contrary, almost 100% of passengers travel by flight during Hajj. Moreover, the operating cost of empty return flights is also low. Normal flights need additional costs in marketing and system management, which Hajj flights do not. Considering all these things, the maximum airfare for the dedicated Hajj flight could have been Tk 150,000, according to the letter. Biman's last hajj flight arrives in Dhaka with 358 pilgrims “You (PM) are always dedicated to the welfare of Hajj pilgrims and your role in modern and welfare-oriented Hajj management is universally appreciated. In the current context, Muslims intend to perform hajj across the country are only looking at you. Therefore, taking into account of the current situation, HAAB is requesting your kind intervention regarding rearranging the Hajj package by reducing the airfare of the pilgrims through an independent technical committee,” the letter concluded.
An aircraft of Biman Bangladesh Airlines carrying 415 hajj pilgrims left Dhaka today (May 21, 2023) for Saudi Arabia -- the first hajj flight this year. The flight BG-3001 took off from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka at 3:20 am and was scheduled to land in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at 7:20 am (local time). Four more flights of Biman Bangladesh Airlines are scheduled to depart Dhaka with hajj pilgrims for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) today. State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Md Mahbub Ali, State Minister for Religion Md Faridul Haque Khan, lawmaker Habib Hasan, Biman Governing Council Chairman Mustafa Kamal Uddin, and KSA Ambassador to Bangladesh Issa Bin Youssef Al-Dahilan, among others, saw off the hajj pilgrims at Dhaka airport. Read more: PM inaugurates Hajj programme-2023 Earlier, at an event organized to mark the first hajj flight, at the airport, State Minister Mahbub sought prayers from the pilgrims for happiness, peace, prosperity, and advancement of the country under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. He said all-out preparations have been taken to ensure the smooth operation of hajj flights like the past years. This year, Biman Bangladesh Airlines authorities will carry 61,111 hajj pilgrims out of total 1, 22,221 with its five aircraft. The rest will be carried by the Saudia and Flynas. Lauding the prime minister’s diplomatic success, the state minister said the immigration of the hajj passengers at the KSA end is being completed in Dhaka under the ‘Road to Makkah Initiative’. He said several initiatives were taken to ease sufferings of the pilgrims and no passenger has been subjected to harassment for booking tickets after initiating a new rule and enhanced monitoring since 2019. The Biman authorities concerned will conduct 162 pre-hajj flights from May 21 to June 22, and 168 post-hajj flights from July 2 to August 3 this year. Like last year, Biman will operate flights from Chattogram and Sylhet to Jeddah and Madinah along with Dhaka this year. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the hajj programme on May 19. Read more: Pray that Bangladesh is safe from man-made or natural disasters: PM to Hajj pilgrims
The Hajj and Umrah Ministry of Saudi Arabia has recommended pilgrims to perform Umrah just once during the holy month of Ramadan. To avoid crowding and guarantee that pilgrims have a simple and straightforward travel to the sites, the ministry recommended Muslims to undertake Umrah just once throughout the holy month, reports Al Arabiya. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Saudi officials were concerned about overcrowding at the holy sites because they wanted to make sure that travelers were safe at all times, it said. Read More: Saudi govt reduces Umrah insurance cost for foreign pilgrims by 63% The Nusuk app allows Muslims from all over the world to apply to participate in the pilgrimage and plan their whole trip there, including applying for a eVisa and arranging accommodations and flights, the report also said. Except for during Hajj, any period of the year is permissible for Muslims to go to Makkah to perform Umrah. Many people aspire to do Umrah during the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Read More: Route to Mecca: MoU signed to make Bangladeshi pilgrims' Saudi visits easier
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.
No decision has been taken yet to reduce the price of Hajj packages, said Motiul Islam, additional secretary to the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Bangladesh today (March 16, 2023). “We are yet to receive a copy of the court's order. If there is a new decision, I will tell you later,” he told reporters at the ministry. The registration for Hajj under the existing packages is ending today, he said adding that the intending pilgrims have to deposit money in banks within this time. It has not yet been decided whether the registration time will be extended, said Motiul. Read More: High Court questions hike in price of performing hajj As of March 15, 9,569 people have registered for Hajj under government management and 91,246 under private management. There are still 25,480 empty quota for registration, he said. The High Court on Wednesday asked Attorney General AM Amin Uddin to take initiative to reduce the Hajj package cost. The HC bench of Justice KM Kamrul Kader and Justice Mohammad Ali gave the order after hearing the Ministry of Religion's explanation regarding the high Hajj cost this year. Read More: Govt raises hajj cost by Tk 1.61 lakh this year On Tuesday the court 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 HC 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. Earlier on February 1, the Ministry of Religious Affairs announced the hajj package for 2023 in a memorandum. According to the package, a person has to pay a hefty amount of Tk 6.83 lakh to perform hajj this year - up from Tk 5.22 lakh in 2022. Read More: Preparations taken as hajj pilgrims don’t face trouble for dollar crisis: State Minister
The High Court (HC) on Tuesday 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 HC 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 court set Wednesday for further hearing. Supreme Court lawyer Ashraf-uz-Zaman was present in the hearing on behalf of the writ petitioner. Deputy Attorney General Abdullah Al Mahmud Bashar and Assistant Attorney General Md Awlad Hossain represented the state at the hearing. The High Court ordered DAG Bashar to inform the court about the latest update on revising the hajj package ahead of Wednesday’s hearing. Read more: Govt raises hajj cost by Tk 1.61 lakh this year Earlier on February 1, the Ministry of Religious Affairs announced the hajj package for 2023 in a memorandum. According to the package, a person has to pay a hefty amount of Tk 6.83 lakh to perform hajj this year - up from Tk 5.22 lakh in 2022. In response, Ashraf-uz-Zaman sent a legal notice to the Ministry of Religious Affairs, requesting it to reduce the cost of hajj pilgrims and bring it under Tk 4 lakh Later, he filed a writ on March 12 as the concerned authority failed to respond to the legal notice. Contacted, Lawyer Ashraf Uz Zaman said: “Currently, the plane fare on the Bangladesh-Saudi Arabia-Bangladesh route is Tk 76,000 to Tk 1,10,000. Every year, the governments of both countries force hajj pilgrims to buy tickets for Saudia Airlines and Biman Bangladesh Airlines which destroys the hajj pilgrims’ capacity to choose for themselves.” “The legal notice was sent requesting the authorities to amend and reduce the price of the hajj package for 2023, citing various factors.” Hajj-2023 will be held on 9th day of Zilhaj (June 28) depending on moon sighting. This year, over 127,000 Bangladeshis will get the chance to perform hajj, more than double the number last year. Only 60,000 people from Bangladesh were allowed to perform hajj in 2022 as the Saudi government only partially opened up in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is the first year since the pandemic that the hajj is expected to be held with no restrictions on attendance. Read more: HAAB announces private hajj package: Minimum cost set at Tk 6.72 lakh
Al-Arafah Islami Bank Limited (AIBL) organised a discussion on hajj with the members of the Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) Thursday in the capital. Al-Arafah Managing Director and CEO Farman R Chowdhury was present at the program as chief guest. Md Shafiqur Rahman, deputy managing director of the bank, presided over the discussion. Read: Islami Bank remittance clients to get motorcycles Al-Arafah deputy managing directors Shabbir Ahmed, Md Mahmudur Rahman, Abed Ahmed Khan, Abdullah Al Mamun and Md Fazlur Rahman Chowdhury and HAAB officials were also present. Al-Arafah Islami Bank was set up as a private limited company on June 18, 1995.
The cost for performing hajj under government management has increased by Tk 1.61 lakh this year as it has been fixed at Tk 6,83,018 for each pilgrim against last year’s Tk 5,21,15. The decision was taken at a meeting of the executive committee on hajj management with State Minister for Religious Affairs Md Faridul Haque Khan in the chair on Wednesday. Talking to reporters the minister said last year, the government announced two hajj packages for hajj—Package-1 at Tk 5,86,340 and package-2 at Tk 5,21,150--- but his year only one package has been announced. The private hajj agencies will fix their packages in coordination with the government packages and it will be announced on Thursday, he said. Under private management, the pilgrims paid minimum Tk 5,22,744 for performing hajj last year. About the raising the hajj package cost, the minister said this year one Riyal is available at Tk 30 which was Tk 21 last year. Also read: Over 1.27 lakh Bangladeshis likely to perform Hajj this year, Deal with KSA on Jan 9 Faridul said this year the government has fixed the plane fare at Tk 1, 97,797 and the price has been increased due to global economic crisis. Last year, the plane fare was Tk 1.40 lakh. Like the previous year, three airlines –Biman Bangladesh Airlines, Saudia Airlines and National Airlines will carry the hajj pilgrims, he said. Hajj-2023 will be held on 9th day of Zilhaj (June 28) depending on moon sighting. The government signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia over hajj on January 9. According to the agreement, 15,000 people will be able to go to Hajj under government management while 1,12,198 can go under private management. Biman Bangladesh Airlines will carry 50 percent passengers while Saudia Airlines will carry 50 percent passengers. Besides, the age limit for Hajj pilgrims during the pandemic has been lifted by the Saudi government – paving the way for people over 65 to go for the significant pilgrimage. According to the ‘Route to Mecca initiative’ deal, all hajj pilgrims will complete their pre-arrival immigration in Dhaka. In case of Covid vulnerable situation, the Saudi authorities can take a decision about the number of the pilgrimage. This year, 70 percent Bangladeshi pilgrims will go through Jeddah Airport while the rest 30 percent will go through Madinah airport. In 2019, a total of 1,27, 198 pilgrims performed hajj from Bangladesh. Read More: 1918 pilgrims perform hajj at government's cost since 2014: State Minister
The government has taken preparations so that the intending Bangladeshi hajj pilgrims do not face dollar crisis, said State Minister for Religious Affairs Md Faridul Haque Khan on Thursday. He was talking to reporters after attending the Deputy Commissioners Conference 2023 at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the capital. Read more: 1918 pilgrims perform hajj at government's cost since 2014: State Minister Asked whether there is enough dollars in reserve for 27,000 pilgrims this season, the state minister said no such situation has been created in Bangladesh yet. “Bangladesh’s condition is still stable.” Regarding the propaganda over religion in textbooks, he said if there is anything controversial about religion in the textbooks, it must be removed. Read more: No increase in Hajj package this year, says minister The Ministry of Education has already formed two committees to investigate the matter. After the work of this committees, there remains an opportunity to do what are need to be done, he added. “It's a way to destroy communal harmony by spreading huge propaganda about a trivial matter. These are spread before the elections. There is no time to allow such things,” said the state minister.
State Minister for Religious Affairs Faridul Haque Khan on Sunday told Parliament that a total of 1981 people were sent to Saudi Arabia to perform the holy hajj at the government's cost since 2014. He said this replying to a tabled question from Awami League lawmaker Didarul Alam after the day's sitting of the House started with Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair in the afternoon. The state minister however said none was sent to hajj in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19 pandemic. Also Read: Biman to use own aircraft for Hajj flights this year In 2014, the government started a programme to send a certain number of Muslims to Saudi Arabia for performing hajj at lowest package price, he said Among 1918 who performed hajj at government cost, 125 people were sent in 2014, 268 in 2015, 283 in 2016, 334 in 2017, 340 in 2018, 314 in 2019 and 254 in 2022.