Dhaka begins registration process for more than 137,000 pilgrims

Monday, March 2, 2020

DHAKA: Authorities in Dhaka will on Monday start accepting private applications for Hajj, with 137,198 visitors expected to travel to Makkah for the pilgrimage this year, officials told Arab News.

“Although the registration process for pilgrims under the government scheme began on Sunday, a majority will perform Hajj using private operators. Their registration will begin from tomorrow (Monday),” Shahadat Hossain Taslim, president of the Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB), told Arab News on Sunday.

Of the total number of pilgrims performing Hajj this year, 17,198 are part of a government scheme, while the remaining 120,000 are using the services of private operators.

The month-long registration process, which ends on March 30, will cater to 10,000 more pilgrims this year than last year, and follows Saudi Arabia’s decision to increase the existing quota at Bangladesh’s request.

This year’s pilgrimage will see an increase in the total cost of Hajj, with each pilgrim spending a minimum of $3,840 on a private package. The cost for a government package, however, has been fixed at $5,180.

“We have increased the Hajj package rate very mathematically as the Kingdom has introduced new charges like Hajj fees and insurance for the pilgrims. But, considering the financial affordability of our pilgrims, we have introduced a very special economy package, ” Mohammad Nurul Islam, Bangladesh’s Religious Affairs’ secretary, told Arab News.

He said that the impressive number of pilgrims was despite the coronavirus threat, which could be a concern for this year’s Hajj.

“We are very cautious to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Every pilgrim from Bangladesh will be screened properly and provided with a health-clearance certificate,” Islam said, adding that measures are in place to ensure pilgrims do not overstay their visit.

“Bangladeshi pilgrims will be allowed to stay in the Kingdom for a maximum period of 45 days. We are trying to coordinate with the airline authorities to issue the return ticket accordingly,” Taslim said.

Depending on the sighting of the moon, Hajj is expected to take place on July 30 this year.


Source: https://www.arabnews.com/node/1635546/world