Bangladesh has surpassed neighbouring India and Pakistan in terms of costly hajj packages, with this year’s being one of the most expensive ones in the country’s history.
Pakistan has not officially announced their hajj package yet but according to Pakistan Today, the country’s religious affairs ministry said they will announce it in early March.
The price is estimated to be around one million Pakistani rupees, which when converted to Bangladeshi currency is around Tk 4 lakh.
Meanwhile, India announced its hajj package in 2018, priced at 3.99 lakh rupees. They haven’t changed the prices till 2022, according to the website of Hajj Committee of India.
Indian Ministry of Minority Affairs in a notice said this year, a subsidy of 1 lakh rupees would be given to each pilgrim. As such, an Indian would be able to perform hajj within 3 lakh rupees, which amounts to around Tk 4 lakh.
In Bangladesh, the cost of hajj package under the government and private hajj management is about Tk 7 lakh. But the actual cost will exceed Tk 8 to Tk 8.5 lakh when the cost of sacrificial animal, food and other miscellaneous costs are included.
This is set to be the most expensive in Bangladesh’s history, thanks mainly to what travel agents and hajj agents termed as Biman Bangladesh Airlines’ unusually high airfare.
In both India and Pakistan, the cost of airfare is not more than Tk 1 lakh to 1.2 lakh, sources in ATAB said. This year the airfare for Biman has been fixed at Tk 1.98 lakh, an increase of about Tk 60,000 over last year’s airfare.
ATAB and HAAB leaders said in a bid to get rid of the monopoly business from Biman and Saudi Arabia, the government should allow other airlines like India, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia to carry hajj pilgrims.
This year 1.27 lakh Bangladeshis will be able to perform Hajj. But only around 38,000 pilgrims have completed registration. HAAB and ATAB leaders believe the high cost of hajj package is to blame for the low numbers.
The daily star