Friday, January 18, 2019 | ePaper

Agencies blame Hajj camp for visa delays

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Staff Reporter :
The Religious Affairs Ministry has served a show-cause notice on 88 more Hajj agency owners, accusing them on charge of delaying in issuing Pay orders for more than 10,000 tickets for pilgrims this year.
Meanwhile, Hajj agencies have blamed the Hajj Camp in Ashkona for the delay in processing visas for pilgrims intending to perform Hajj this year.
Most of the employees of the camp engaged with passport verification process pretend at work. As a result, the passports are sent to the Saudi Embassy late, alleged several agency owners to the New Nation.
According to Hajj camp, about 53,000 passports verification out of 1,20,000 were verified for issuing visa under private management till Monday. Among them, 52,000 visas under private management have been issued. On the other hand, 6,500 visas had been issued for government management pilgrims, Anisur Rahman, Secretary of the Ministry of Religious Affairs said on Monday at a meeting with the 56 agency owners.
"If the situation does not change, then the aggrieved agencies will file a complaint with the Religious Affairs Secretary within shortly" said an agency owner to the New Nation on Monday.
Rejecting the allegation of non co-operation, Saiful Islam, Director of Ashkona Hajj Camp, said that a section of hajj agencies were making delay in completing the visa processing. Visas were not issued because the Saudi Embassy remained closed for two days. Already we had sent about 11000 passports for visa yesterday, he said. I'm hopeful that all the problems will be solved very soon, he added.
The Saudi embassy in Dhaka usually issues around 800 to 900 hajj visas per day. The number might go up to about 1,000 under special circumstances. In that case, performing hajj this year would be quite uncertain for some 1,500 pilgrims unless the Saudi authorities increase the number, said another travel agent owner who has been running the travel agency for several years.
"We are working round the clock at the Hajj Camp office to ensure visas for all the pilgrims as soon as possible and trying our best. Some agency owners are yet staying in Saudi Arabia to hire residence. This is another reasons for not sale about 20,000 Biman tickets" Shahadat Hossain Taslim, Secretary General of Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) said to the New Nation on Monday.
"We are always in contact with the respective hajj agencies and the hajj office with the cooperation of Hajj Camp office. The office has instructed the agencies to submit visa applications of the rest of the pilgrims" he added.

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