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Hajj quota reg remains incomplete

Published : 20 Jan 2024 12:12 AM | Updated : 20 Jan 2024 04:14 PM
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A substantial portion of the Hajj registration quota for Bangladesh remains vacant, triggering concerns among officials and prospective pilgrims. 

Despite consecutive deadline extensions, more than half of the total quota for this year’s Hajj remains unregistered.

As of Friday, only 53,173 individuals have completed the hajj registration process. Among them, 3,802 pilgrims registered under government management, while the remaining 49,371 opted for private hajj management. 

Bangladesh, with a quota of 127,198 pilgrims this year, faces an alarming gap in registration numbers. Religious Affairs Ministry officials are saying that last year the Saudi Government granted eight consecutive extensions for hajj registration, but this year they are not giving any extra time for completing the required registration quota.   

This year’s Hajj registration started from September 16 last year. The deadline was last December 10. Later, the Hajj registration period was extended till December 31. After that, the ministry extended the registration period till January 18 in the second phase. But the registration did not get the desired response. The newly appointed public relations officer of the ministry Abubakor Siddik told Bangladesh Post that there is a meeting with Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) on Sunday evening. 

Following that meeting a new announcement is likely to come regarding further time extension. 

However, Md. Matiul Islam, Additional Secretary of Hajj Wing of the ministry said that the Hajj registration period is not being extended. Saudi Arabia is not granting any additional time.

According to HAAB information, due to several global recessions and others, Bangladesh has always been left behind in fulfilling the hajj quota. 

Only in 2019, before the pandemic, Bangladesh was able to fulfill the quota. Otherwise, the country has always seen the hajj quota remain unregistered. 

Aspirant pilgrims who are willing to perform Hajj are lagging behind as the cost of Hajj performance has gone up beyond their expectations. All costs including flight and accommodation have also gone up due to the high exchange rate of dollars and Saudi Riyal. 

However, several demands were raised from various quarters to reduce the cost of performing Hajj from Bangladesh. 

The High Court has issued a rule to know why the Hajj package announced by the government (Hajj Package 2023) should not be declared illegal and why the package should not be reduced. The concerned have been asked to respond to this rule within the next two weeks.   

Bangladesh has 127,198 quota for Hajj this year. Surprisingly, a significant portion of the total quota is remaining vacant. Despite the extended deadline, nearly two-thirds of the total quota remains unregistered.

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