To fulfill the requirement of the Saudi government, Bangladeshis intending to perform Hajj this year will have to send their finger-prints to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
The Religious Affairs Ministry has already sought permission of the Home Ministry to use data and finger-prints of the passports of the intending pilgrims.
Religious Affairs Secretary Abdul Jalil on Monday sent a letter to the Home Ministry's Senior Secretary seeking its permission to use the data and finger-prints to avert unnecessary delay of the pilgrims at Jeddah Airport in Saudi Arabia during the upcoming Hajj season, Ministry sources said.
The Department of Immigration and Passport (DIP) under the Home Ministry has kept the data of finger-prints of the passport holders.
According to the agreements signed between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia, it is mandatory to send such finger-prints.
The finger-prints will be examined at the exit point of Jeddah Airport for entering the KSA.
"The pilgrims whose finger-prints would not match during the check-out would not get clearance for entering the country. However, it takes around 5 hours to complete the check-out normally at the Jeddah Airport. During the Hajj period, there will be a rush at the airport. As a result, it would take more than 10 hours to complete the procedures," Abdul Jalil told the Daily Observer.
He said, "We want to avert unnecessary trouble for the pilgrims. So, we want to send their finger-prints to the Saudi government as the pilgrims can easily enter that country completing all procedures during the Hajj."
"If the Home Ministry allows us to use the finger-prints, it would be easy for us to complete the procedures. Otherwise, the Religious Affairs Ministry will have to take fresh finger-prints of the pilgrims buying new finger-print devices. We hope the Home Ministry will allow us," he added.
Jalil also said it would be completed by this June as it is time-consuming to complete all Hajj procedural matters this year.
When asked about unregistered quota of the pilgrims, the Secretary said the quota will be fulfilled from the additional pilgrims who completed pre-registration earlier. The private management pilgrims' quota will be filled up from the pre-registered pilgrims.
But, the unregistered quota of government management pilgrims will be filled up with the pre-registered pilgrims intending to perform Hajj under government management cancelling their private registration. They will be given time to change their pre-registration by this June.
The Ministry will also seek Saudi government's permission to allocate the government management unregistered quota to the private Hajj agencies. If they permit to transfer the quota under private management, it will also be given, the Secretary said.
He also said there is no scope of getting any additional quota this year as the Saudi government wants to reduce quota of pilgrims due to recent renovation of Hajj ground and near-by places.
Bangladesh had been allocated a quota of 1,01,758 pilgrims this year. Of those, quota of around 8,000 pilgrims still remains unregistered due to some technical and procedural problems.