| Dhaka, Tuesday, 16 April 2024

1st Hajj flight with 418 passengers fly out today morning 

Update : 2015-08-16 10:01:39
1st Hajj flight with 418 passengers fly out today morning 

This is the first time for Haj flight. 418 passengers at first went away for Haji today 8:30 am from the Shaha Jalal international airport Bangladesh.

Despite paying fees to private hajj agencies, around 15,000 Bangladeshis will not be able to perform hajj this year, as the quota of pilgrims allocated by the Saudi authorities has finished.

Many of them alleged that the private hajj agencies did not register their names in the online database of the government even though they had provided all necessary documents and fees well ahead.

With hajj flights starting today and as there is no chance left for them, many of the disappointed aspiring pilgrims asked the authorities to give them priority next year.

“I'm really disappointed that I will not be able to perform hajj this year due to the failure of the private agency and the government as well,” said Abdur Rashid of Chandpur a couple of days ago.

The first flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines will leave Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport with 419 pilgrims at 8:30am.

The hajj flights will continue until September 17. The return flight will start on September 28 and end on October 28.

The Saudi authorities fixed a quota of 1,01,750 Bangladeshi pilgrims this year. Of them, 10,000 will perform hajj under government arrangement and the rest under private management, said officials at the religious affairs ministry.

The pilgrims were selected through an online registration system launched by the ministry this year.

The ministry officials said around 91,908 aspiring pilgrims registered online within the February deadline, but 1,11,012 people deposited money with the agencies concerned.

As the total number of the pilgrims depositing money for the hajj exceeded the Saudi imposed quota, the ministry found that around 20,000 pilgrims were not included in the database.

The aggrieved pilgrims then demanded that the government take measures to ensure they make the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. They had also staged several demonstrations in March in the city to press home their demand.

Upon the pilgrims' demand, the parliamentary standing committee on the religious affairs ministry in May decided to talk to the Saudi authorities to settle the issue.

A delegation led by Religious Affairs Minister Matiur Rahman visited Saudi Arabia in June but failed to convince the Saudi authorities to allow the additional pilgrims.

“We have nothing to do for them [the pilgrims] as the Saudi authorities did not allow them to perform the hajj,” Chowdhury Md Babul Hassan, secretary of the ministry, told The Daily Star.

Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (Haab) President Mohammad Ibrahim Bahar, however, said they finally managed to take in 5,000 pilgrims who had already deposited money but could not get registered on time.

He said they found that some 5,000 registered pilgrims would not be able to perform hajj this year due to various reasons. So they took those people in their place.

At least 7,000 to 8,000 disappointed pilgrims, who deposited the money but failed to be registered in the database, would have to take their money back, Bahar said, adding that they would be given priority next time.

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