DHAKA: Bangladesh is observing its lowest registration turnout for Hajj, as regardless of authorities efforts to cut back the value of packages, most individuals can’t afford the journey this 12 months.
Solely 47,773 potential pilgrims have registered in opposition to the quota of 127,000 granted to Bangladesh by Saudi Arabia for the 2024 Hajj season.
This 12 months, Hajj is predicted to start out on June 14 and finish on June 19. Registration in Bangladesh ended on Jan. 18 — after the primary deadline was prolonged twice following poor response from potential pilgrims.
“We tried to tell everybody in regards to the Hajj registration deadline. We disseminated info via tv, newspapers, SMS, and many others.,” Mohammed Matiul Islam, extra secretary on the Ministry of Spiritual Affairs, informed Arab Information.
“Our Hajj quota was unfulfilled within the earlier 12 months additionally. However the scenario was not like this 12 months. This time, there’s a very low variety of the folks registered.”
He stated the federal government had but to resolve what it might do in regards to the remaining slots.
One of the populous Muslim-majority international locations, Bangladesh struggled to satisfy the Hajj quota granted by Saudi Arabia in 2023 amid skyrocketing costs of journey.
A number of thousand potential pilgrims couldn’t go to carry out the religious journey that is likely one of the 5 pillars of Islam.
To stop the identical situation throughout the 2024 pilgrimage season, the Bangladeshi authorities lowered by $1,000 the price of Hajj packages.
The minimal authorities fee of Hajj from Bangladesh this 12 months is $5,034 — a major lower in contrast with the minimal of $6,000 in 2023.
Whereas final 12 months Hajj tour operators indicated the principle issues as excessive inflation and airfares to the Center East, at present there are extra components at play, together with issues over political stability as Bangladesh’s current normal election was boycotted by the opposition and was one of many nation’s most controversial polls.
“It’s the election 12 months, and contemplating the political scenario, I feel many individuals opted to attend. Secondly, an enormous variety of folks from Bangladesh are actually performing Umrah,” stated Shahadat Hossain Taslim, president of the Hajj Companies Affiliation of Bangladesh.
“Earlier, folks used to carry out Umrah (over a interval of) three months, however now it’s 10 months of the 12 months and all of the flights from Bangladesh to the Kingdom are totally loaded with Umrah passengers.”
Persistent inflation stays a important cause too, as though the bundle worth has been lowered, the distinction just isn’t felt because of the devaluation of the Bangladeshi taka in opposition to the US greenback.
“It nonetheless appears very excessive for the pilgrims because the taka has been devaluated severely within the final 12 months. We lowered the doable most quantity to ease the burden of the pilgrims,” Taslim stated.
“I feel that because of the ongoing world recession, Hajj quotas is not going to be reached by many international locations this 12 months.”