532 govt staff to go to Saudi Arabia to serve hajj pilgrims
Published : Saturday, 21 May, 2022 at 9:50 PM Count : 409
A total of 532 officials and employees of different government ministries, divisions, departments, and even hospitals are going to Saudi Arabia to serve Bangladeshi hajj pilgrims there.
The list includes right from the ministers, state ministers, secretaries and doctors to the officials and employees of different levels of the government.
The government will have to spend hard-earned foreign currencies worth minimum Tk 24.58 crore for sending, keeping and bringing its 532 officials and employees to and from Saudi Arabia during the hajj.
In normal times, some 20-25 lakh Muslims get the opportunity to perform hajj in Saudia Arabia every year. But, due to coronavirus infection, none from outside of Saudi Arabia was allowed to perform hajj over the last two years. As the situation has improved, the Saudi government has given permission to one million Muslims from inside and outside the country to participate in this year's hajj.
Some 57,500 Bangladeshi Muslims have received the opportunity to perform hajj this from Bangladesh. Of them, 4,000 will go under the government's management, while the rest will go under the private management.
Every year, the government officials and employees are sent to Saudi Arabia as part of hajj management. They include ministers, state ministers, secretaries and physicians, and other officials and employees from different levels of the government.
When asked how many officials and employees are going to Saudi Arabia this year, State Minister for Religious Affairs Md Faridul Huque Khan said, "There are many categories. One of these is a delegation. This 10-member delegation may include ministers or secretaries. There may be our parliamentary standing committee chairman or members.
"Besides, a 40-member administrative team will visit. This team includes secretaries, joint secretaries, and deputy secretaries. There is quota-wise division in each sector. For example, doctors and nurses. How many of them will go? They have quotas. All have been placed under quotas. A total of 532 people will visit to Saudi Arabia this year."
The Ministry of Religious Affairs has announced two packages for hajj pilgrims under the government management this year. The cost of the highest package is Tk 5,27,340 while the cost of the lowest package is Tk 4,62,150. If the lowest package is taken into account, the government will have to spend minimum Tk 24 crore 57 lakh 84 thousand for the officials and employees who will be sent to Saudi Arabia this year.
The first hajj flight of this year will leave Dhaka on May 31. A total of 419 hajj pilgrims are scheduled to leave for Saudi Arabia.
The Religious Affairs minister said some 1,700 to 1,800 government officials and employees used to visit Saudi Arabia during the Hajj seasons in the past to assist Bangladeshi hajj pilgrims. This year only 532 are going to Saudi Arabia. The number is less than half of other years.
When his attention was drawn to the allegation that hajj pilgrims almost receive no services from the government officials and employees during their stay in Saudi Arabia, the state minister said, "We have discussed the matter. We have taken initiatives so that no mistakes of the past appear this year."
The hajj is likely to take place on July 8 this year (depends on the sighting of moon). As per the agreements with Saudi Arabia, Biman will carry 57,000 hajj pilgrims, while the rest will be carried by Saudi Arabian Airlines.
The national flag carrier Biman will carry 31,000 hajj pilgrims through 75 dedicated flights. Like the previous years, Biman will use Boeing 777 aircraft to carry the hajj pilgrims this year.