Hajj pilgrimage for Bangladeshis will be more expensive than before as the Cabinet has approved the draft Hajj Packages 2018, raising the cost by around Tk 12,000 to Tk 16,000 in two government-supervised packages.
Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam told journalists on Monday after the weekly meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that Package-1 under government supervision would cost Tk 397,929 which was Tk 381,508 last year – a rise of Tk 16,421.
Hajj Package-2 under government management would cost Tk 331,359 this year, which was Tk 319,355, marking an increase of Tk 12,004.
The private minimum Hajj package has been fixed at Tk 168,277 which was Tk 156,537 last year.
However, depending on the facilities and accommodations the pilgrims prefer, the cost for the private package might go up.
The Cabinet also approved the Hajj and Umrah Policy 2018 with certain changes which are as follows:
>> Expatriate Bangladeshi pilgrims can do pre-registration using their passport though there is a mandatory provision of using NID;
>> Pre-registration will remain valid for one year, but if a pilgrim fails to complete final registration for two consecutive years, the pre-registration will be cancelled;
>> Police verification report is not required during registration as such verification has been done during passport application process;
>> There will be one guide for every 54 pilgrims, and the name of the guide has to be submitted to Hajj office at least two months before the pilgrimage;
>> Registration is not exchangeable. However, registration can only be changed or replaced owing to the death of the prospective pilgrim or on the ground of serious illness. But it has to be approved by the committee of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Hajj agencies cannot replace more than 4 percent of their registered pilgrims.
>> The government will not provide trollies to the pilgrims; they will have to buy them from this year.
>> A Hajj agency can process a maximum of 300 pilgrims (and minimum 150);
>> Pilgrims from only three agencies can share a flight;
>> If the agencies rent accommodation more than 2km away from Makkah, they have to arrange transports for the pilgrims;
>> Those who performed Hajj in 2015, 2016 and 2017 or received visa but did not perform Hajj will have to pay an additional 2,100 Saudi Rial to travel for Hajj.
The cabinet secretary said the charge has been levied to discourage second-time pilgrimage.
About the cost, he said the rise in package cost was reasonable given the US dollar rate for taka and airfare hike.
As per the agreement with the Saudi government, a total of 127,198 Bangladeshis will take pilgrimage this year – 120,000 of them under private management and 7,198 under government supervision.
Depending on the sighting of the moon, the Hajj is likely to be held on Aug 21.