The cabinet on Monday approved the draft Hajj Package, 2020, setting the minimum cost for a pilgrim at Tk 3,15,000 in the Package III offered this year for the first time.
The pilgrims under the new package will be offered accommodation beyond of distance of 15,00 metres from Haram Sharif in Makkah to perform Hajj.
The Package I—up by Tk 6,500 from the previous year— will cost a Hajj pilgrim Tk 4,25,000 this year and the Package II— up by Tk 16,000 from the previous year—will cost Tk 3,60,000.
The cost of the three packages under the government management includes accommodations, meals, transportation in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and air tickets.
The religious affairs ministry placed the Hajj Package 2020 in the weekly cabinet meeting with prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair at her Tejgaon office.
‘A pilgrim will be offered accommodation within 700 metres from the Haram Sharif under the Package I and within 15,00 metres under the Package II,’ cabinet secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam told a press briefing at the secretariat.
And the pilgrims under the Package-III will stay beyond a distance of 1500 metres from the Haram Sharif, he added.
The private agencies will also be able to announce hajj packages after fixing charges in the three categories depending on the distances of hotels from the Haram Sharif, he said.
The net airfare for a pilgrim from Bangladesh has been fixed at Tk 1,38,000, Tk 10,000 up from Tk 1,28,000 last year, said the cabinet secretary.
The Package II costed the lowest last year under both the government management and the private agencies.
Around 1,37,198 pilgrims from Bangladesh are expected to perform Hajj this year. The number was 1,27,198 last year.
Of them, 1 7,198 will be able to perform the pilgrimage under the government management while the rest will be managed by private agencies, the cabinet secretary said.
In 2019, the number of pilgrims under the government management was 7,198, according to an official document.
An aspiring pilgrim must have a machine-readable passport with validity up to February 1, 2021.
The private agencies will not be allowed to offer packages at a cost lower than the minimum cost fixed by the government for the Package III to ensure a minimum standard for Hajjis, said the cabinet secretary.
A private agency will be required to send at least 100 pilgrims and at most 300 pilgrims, he said.
All Hajj aspirants must complete registrations online as usual. The pilgrimage, the largest annual congregation of the Muslims, is likely to be held on July 30 depending on moon sighting.
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