All hajj-related problems to be resolved soon: Menon

Dhaka,  Thu,  17 August 2017
Published : 02 Aug 2017, 18:14:40
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All hajj-related problems to be resolved soon: Menon

Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon hopes all the hajj-related problems will be resolved within a day or two.

He said this after an emergency meeting about overall situation of the hajj-related activities.

The minister said increase in the Moallem fees by the Saudi government is the main reasons behind the breakdown of the hajj flight schedules, reports UNB.

 “The issue will hopefully be settled soon as the Saudi Arabia government is scheduled to hold a meeting today in this regard,” Menon said.

Representatives from the Religious Affairs Ministry and Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB), and senior officials of Biman Bangladesh Airlines were present at the meeting with Menon in the chair.

After receiving the E-visas from Saudi Embassy, the hajj agencies are facing problem in printing those which is another reason behind the hajj flight cancellation.   

As hajj agencies send passports of a group of intending Hall pilgrims together for visas, it is necessary to print their visas together, Haab sources said, adding that when a pilgrim does not get the print copy of the visa, the entire group has to miss a flight.

This year, the Saudi government launched the E-visas programme for the hajj pilgrims.

The hajj pilgrims, who performed hajj in 2015 or 2016, have to pay extra 2,000 Saudi Riyals for performing hajj for the 2nd time, the minister said, adding that it is another reason for not getting visas timely.

He said the Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh will urge Saudi Arabia to increase the slots for the canceled flights to take pilgrims as 12 Biman flights and three Saudi Airlines flights have so far been cancelled since the first day of hajj flight operation on July 24 due to shortage of pilgrims over visa complications.

From now on, regular fights of Biman Bangladesh Airlines will carry hajj pilgrims decreasing the number of other passengers, he said.

Menon said 92,000 hajj pilgrims have submitted their passports to the Saudi Embassy for visas to perform hajj this year. Of them, 46,792 pilgrims have received visas while 47,476 others are yet to get those, he added.

Of the visa recipients, 29,839 pilgrims have already left for Saudi Arabia.

Every year, most of the hajj pilgrims leave for Saudi Arabia within the first 10 days into the beginning of the Hajj flights.

Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Saudi Airlines are carrying Bangladeshi pilgrims.

Some 177 flights were scheduled to carry the hajj pilgrims till August 26. Of them, only 29 dedicated flights and eight scheduled ones have so far taken off for Saudi Arabia.

Around 127,198 pilgrims were scheduled to perform hajj from Bangladesh this year under government and private managements.
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