Investigation into Hajj mismanagement begins
Monday, 28 January 2008

Staff Correspondent

Biman Bangladesh Airlines, responsible for carrying Hajj pilgrims, concluded its Hajj flight on Friday. The last Hajj flight landed at Zia International Airport on Friday morning with 540 hajis from Jeddah.

There have been allegations that many Hajj pilgrims had to suffer a lot in Saudi Arabia because of mismanagement and irregularities by private operators and the Bangladesh authorities concerned.

'A four-member committee is investigating the irregularities and mismanagement by Hajj agencies and the authorities concerned.

They are supposed to complete the task in a month,' the religious affairs secretary, Md Ataur Rahman, said on Saturday. Fifty-five pilgrims could not perform Hajj this year even after completing all the procedures because of alleged fraudulence of a private Hajj agency.

An eight-member government Hajj delegation at a high-level meeting at the religious affairs ministry early this month narrated their experience in Saudi Arabia.

They reportedly said many hajis of Bangladesh had to suffer a lot in Saudi Arabia because of the mismanagement and irregularities by some Hajj agencies. The religious affairs ministry meeting formed the four-member committee, led by the Islamic Foundation director general, Md Fazlur Rahman, to look into allegations of irregularities in Hajj management.

Licences of two Hajj agencies, Jebric Travels and Dulafakir Hajj Agency, have, meanwhile, been cancelled for irregularities and 'causing sufferings to Hajj passengers.' Jebric owner Ramjan Ali, according to the religious affairs ministry, has gone in hiding after the agency failed to send 55 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, each of whom paid more than Tk 1,70,000.

National flag carrier Biman ferried 35,497 hajis, out of the total 46,160 this year, to and from Saudi Arabia in 205 flights.

The remaining hajis were ferried by the Saudi Arabian Airlines, said a Biman official. Biman operated 155 dedicated flights with two of its DC-10s and a leased Boeing 747 aircraft.

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