Over 50 Hajj agencies yet to buy air tickets for pilgrims
Published : Wednesday, 19 June, 2019 at 12:00 AM Count : 714
More than 50 Hajj agencies out of 598 selected for this year's Hajj activities have not yet bought air tickets for their pilgrims.
As a result, more than 12,000 air tickets of Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Saudi Arabian Airlines have still remained unsold.
According to the Hajj agents, a good number of their pilgrims are not showing their interests to perform Hajj this year showing different reasons.
In this situation, the agencies are facing trouble to ensure their pilgrims quota and refrained from buying plane tickets for their pilgrims.
If the government allows them to replace their pilgrims with those interested to perform Hajj this year, the agencies will start buying air tickets soon.
In that case, the agencies want replacement facilities for 15 per cent of pilgrims instead of the government's fixed quota of five per cent.
When contacted, Religious Affairs Secretary Md Anisur Rahman told this correspondent that the government has already given the agencies chance of replacing their five per cent pilgrims.
"I think it's enough for replacement of pilgrims as the government has already verified their passports through online system.
The authority is working to complete other procedures of Hajj now. In this situation, I don't think to increase the replacement quota," he added.
He claimed some Hajj agencies usually delay in buying air tickets. They are trying to delay this year also. The government has taken steps to discuss with the agencies to know their problems.
"We have already called the agencies to meet with Hajj officials to explain their position. We will hold separate meeting with all the agencies. Hopefully, the problems will be solved and all air tickets will be sold soon," he added.
Bangladesh Pilgrims and Hajji Welfare Council (BPHWC) President Dr Abdullah Al Naser told this correspondent most of the pilgrims registered their names one or two years ago.
By this time, some pilgrims have lost their ability to spend such a big amount for Hajj due to various reasons.
Dr Naser said in the previous years from 2016 to 18, the Religious Affairs Ministry allowed replacement of 15 per cent pilgrims in phases. As a result, some agencies had to face problems in arranging accommodation and other facilities for them.
The ministry has already agreed to replace five percent of the registered pilgrims of the agencies.
As the government has not yet given chance for a 10 per cent replacement, the air tickets have remained unsold. If the government increases the quota, the tickets will be sold soon, he claimed.
This year, a total of 1, 27,198 pilgrims will perform Hajj from Bangladesh. As per the agreement, Biman Bangladesh Airlines will carry 50 per cent of the total pilgrims while the rests will be carried by Saudi Arabian Airlines.
The Hajj flights will begin from July 14 this year.
According to the ticketing agencies, around 7,000 air tickets of Biman and 5,000 tickets of Saudi Airlines still remained unsold.