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12th-Jul-2018

Hajj flight from Saturday: Govt must ensure hassle free journey for pilgrims

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THE hajj flights carrying Bangladeshi pilgrims to Saudi Arabia to perform hajj this year will begin on Saturday. A total of 1, 27,198 pilgrims - 7,198 under government management and 1,20,000 under private management - will perform hajj from Bangladesh. Religious Affairs Minister Principal Motiur Rahman said government has taken necessary steps so that the pilgrims can go to Saudi Arabia smoothly. Besides, action will be taken against Hajj agencies if found taking money more than the government-set package, he said and added, the authorities concerned have been asked to take necessary steps in maintaining hajj flight schedule.
Each and every year the pilgrims face huge problems-from flight to housing mismanagement-during performing their hajj. Several ill-fated persons cannot go to Saudi Arabia even if paying all sorts of travel fees and other necessary expenditures. They return to their homes in tearful eyes. We saw this scenario in last year also. Those who had lucky enough to go to Saudi Arabia, some of them also faced severe hassle due to extreme mismanagement. Pilgrims alleged that, the private hajj agencies had rented substandard residential houses far from the town and the elderly people faced huge difficulties during their traveling to town. The pilgrims also have to avail low-quality transport for their traveling. Usually, a big team is sent by the government to supervise the pilgrims every year but in fact the pilgrims do not get any service from them.
The government has approved a total of 774 hajj agencies for sending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia this year. Of them, complaint has already been found against 193 Hajj agencies for different irregularities.  Though hajj mismanagement it's a common story each year, the government does a very little to get respite from it. Last year, several thousand pilgrims faced endless miseries due to flight delay and flight cancelation. We fear, the scenario will not be changed this year also. According to newspaper reports, about 14,000 tickets still remained unsold. Not only that, several pilgrims have not yet availed their visas too.
So, we ask the government to take proper steps to ensure safe and hassle-free travel of hajj pilgrims. Repetition of last year's anomaly and mismanagement cannot be accepted anymore.