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First group of Bangladeshi Hajis arrives

The first group of 419 Bangladeshi pilgrims arrived at the Haj Terminal in Jeddah on Saturday.
They were welcomed by Bangladesh Ambassador Mohammed Shahidul Islam, Consul General Mohammed Nazmul Islam and Haj Consul Mohammed Asaduzzaman. Around 100,000 Bangladeshi pilgrims are expected to perform Haj this year. The first group was ferried by the country’s national carrier, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, from Dhaka.
Abdullah Muhammad Mirghalani, Haj director-general at the Ministry of Haj's Jeddah office, and representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were also present to greet the pilgrims.
Ambassador Islam asked pilgrims to follow local rules and regulations during their stay in Makkah and Madinah.
Islam said Biman and Saudi Arabian Airlines would transport Bangladeshi pilgrims this year. “There will be a total of 170 flights operated the two airlines,” he said, adding that the last flight carrying Bangladeshi Hajis would arrive on Oct. 9. Around 1,500 pilgrims will perform the annual pilgrimage under the management of the Dhaka government.
Islam said that a special administrative Haj delegation from the government had arrived in Jeddah prior to the arrival of the first group of pilgrims.
This year, Haj will cost Bangladeshi pilgrims around 300,000 takas (SR 14,524) under government management, while it will cost a minimum of 250,000 takas (about SR12,103) under private arrangements.
The package covers travel, meals and accommodation in both cities, he said, adding that other pilgrims would travel through accredited Haj operators.
Private travel operators offer a variety of packages for pilgrims. Accommodation in star-rated hotels cost pilgrims much more than the amount stipulated by the government, he said.
A medical team comprising 150 medics and paramedics will also arrive with the administrative delegation. “They will man Bangladeshi Haj clinics in Jeddah, Makkah, Madinah and at the Haj terminal,” Islam said.
The consul general said that his mission would operate administrative offices in Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah to assist pilgrims. “We have hired a computer company to maintain a database for pilgrims so that they can be easily tracked down by relatives or friends,” Islam said.

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