The religious affairs ministry on Saturday sent text messages to 6,414 aspirant Hajj pilgrims, registered to go to Saudi Arabia under private management, informing them that their travels were still uncertain.
‘The aspirant Hajj pilgrims will have to contact their respective Hajj [service providing] agencies to make sure whether they are still willing to perform hajj pilgrimage,’ religious affairs ministry secretary Md Anisur Rahman said at an emergency press conference Saturday evening.
He said that they had to face problem to identify over 10,000 cases of duplication and registration with false information by over 400 Hajj agencies mainly to earn money illegally.
Anisur also alleged that the department of immigration and passports did not cooperate with the ministry to verify the identification numbers or passport numbers submitted by different Hajj agencies by April 25, causing further delay in identifying the duplication in the registration process.
‘We could have done it three months ago but we are now identifying the cases,’ said Anisur.
The secretary also said that only 33 out of 528 Hajj agencies complied with their policy and completed all formalities.
He named Khawza Travel, Mother Travel and Eastern Travel, among others, for keeping their pilgrimage formalities still pending, causing uncertainty for many.
Religious affairs minister Motiur Rahman announced at the press conference at his house that additional 4 per cent replacement would be allowed as initially announced 4 per cent (4,614) pilgrims were already replaced.
He restricted the replacement procedure stating that those who were willing to replace their clients would get time until Tuesday afternoon, and would need to submit documents for the cause of the replacement,
The Hajj agencies also have to give an undertaking that no false information has been shared with the ministry during the submission.
The minister also said that 37, 222 pilgrims already reached Jeddah. The figure was 26,000 during the same period in 2017.
On July 14, the first hajj flight carrying 419 pilgrims reached Jeddah in Saudi Arabia as Biman Bangladesh Airlines began its hajj operations from Dhaka.
Biman will carry 63,599 pilgrims during its hajj operation ending on August 15.
This year, 1,26,198 Bangladeshis will be allowed to perform Hajj, according to the agreement with Saudi Arabia.
The government will facilitate 6,198 pilgrims to perform Hajj and the rest 1,20,000 pilgrims will perform Hajj through private means.
This year, Hajj is likely to begin in the evening of August 19 and end in the evening of August 24 based on sighting of the moon. Return flights will start on August 27 and continue till September 25.
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