The cabinet on Monday approved the draft Hajj Package, 2019, setting the minimum cost for an individual pilgrim at Tk 3,44,000 up by Tk 12,641 from the previous year both under government as well as private arrangements.
‘But a pilgrim under Package-I will have to pay Tk 4,18,500 this year, an increase by Tk 20,571 from the year before under the government management,’ cabinet secretary Mohammad Shafiul
Alam told a press briefing at the secretariat after the meeting.
He said the package included accommodations, meals, transportation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and air tickets, he said, adding that Package-I
also entitled a pilgrim to better accommodations, local transportations and meals.
The costs increased due to a local transport fares hike, service charges and house rents, he added.
The Saudi authorities would charge additional Saudi Riyal 21,00 for each of those performing the Islamic ritual more than two times or were previously given visas but did not make the pilgrimage, the cabinet secretary said.
Moreover, each Hajj aspirant would have to deposit Saudi Riyal 68 (Tk 1530) with the Saudi
Hajj ministry as bank guarantee.
The Hajj aspirant must have a machine-readable passport with validity up to February 10, 2020, Shafiul said.
The minimum cost Tk 3,44,000 has been fixed for Package-II under the government management, Shafiul said, adding that the airfare this time had gone down.
The net airfare for each pilgrim from Bangladesh has been fixed at Tk 1,28,000 which was Tk 1,38,000 the year before, he added.
The private agencies would not be allowed to offer package less than the minimum cost fixed for government Package-II to ensure a minimum
standard for Hajjis, Shafiul said.
Each private agency would need to send a minimum of 150 pilgrims and might send a maximum of 300 pilgrims, he said, adding that all Hajj aspirants would have to
complete registrations online for performing the Hajj as usual.
The Umrah pilgrims would also be brought under the online registration system, which has been made mandatory for performing the Hajj.
The private Hajj agencies concerned would have to open bank accounts in Saudi Arabia to ensure e-payments against food and accommodation costs.
Chaired by prime minister Sheikh Hasina at her Tejgaon office, the cabinet also endorsed the draft on National Hajj
and Umrah Policy, 2019, placed by the religious affairs ministry.
A total of 1,27,198 pilgrims from Bangladesh would be able to perform Hajj in the KSA this year also. Of them, 7,198 will be able to perform the pilgrimage under the government management while the rest would be managed by private agencies.
The pilgrimage, the largest annual congregation of the Muslims, is likely to be held on August 10 depending on moon sighting.
Hajj registration would begin in a couple of days as the preregistration of the aspirants has already been completed, said religious affairs ministry officials.
The Hajj agencies must rent houses or hotels for accommodations of the pilgrims before the month of Ramadan, according to the new policy.
Previously, it was scheduled to be completed by 7th Ramadan.
A total of 1,26,000 pilgrims from Bangladesh performed Hajj in 2018.
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