Dhaka, Bangladesh
Hajj arrangements now much better

Hajj arrangements now much better

Says state minister

The arrangements taken by the government for performing hajj this year by Bangladeshi Muslims are now much better than in the past, said State Minister for Religious Affairs Sheikh Md Abdullah. "We've taken strict measures to make sure there's no lacking in this year's hajj management," Sheikh Abdullah said in an interview with UNB recently. Abdullah said no pilgrim can illegally stay in Saudi Arabia once the hajj is over. He said the Bangladeshi Muslims intending to perform hajj now can complete the immigration procedure from Dhaka airport before heading towards Saudi Arabia. "It'll come into effect this year." Abdullah further told UNB that the authorities have taken actions, including fine and cancellation of licences, against the hajj agencies that indulged in irregularities. He mentioned that the Bangladesh government has informed the Saudi government about the housing hazards of Bangladeshi pilgrims. "The Saudi government has confirmed that the Bangladeshi nationals will be given better facilities." Abdullah said the two proposed hajj packages under the government arrangements are Tk 418,500 and 344,000 respectively, while the lowest package under the private arrangement is Tk 344,000. This year, he said, a total of 127,198 people will be able to perform hajj from Bangladesh. Among them, some 12,000 will go under private management and 7,198 under government management. The State Minister said the plane fare this year has been fixed at Tk 128,000 against last year's Tk 138,191. Those performing hajj in 2019 must have their Machine Readable Passports (MRPs) valid until February 10, 2020. He lauded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's efforts to improve the hajj arrangement process saying, "Every time she (PM) ascended to power she made arrangements to provide maximum services to pilgrims. Still, she's taking various steps to increase facilities for pilgrims." Besides, the junior minister said, the government is working to digitalise the management of Islamic Foundation. "The Islamic Foundation management will become more transparent." He mentioned the government's new project to establish 560 model mosques across the country. "We've already called for tender proposals." About extending support to imams and muazzins through a welfare fund, the State Minister said, "We're considering giving them allowances from the Imam Welfare Fund."

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