Hajj agency owners demand removal of HAAB leaders

indexxthStaff Reporter :A section of leaders of Hajj-Omrah Agencies Welfare Association of Bangladesh (HOAWAB) have demanded removal of incumbent leadership of Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) due to misuse of government fund of around Tk. 13 crore, which it borrowed for sending extra 5,000 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia last year. They also blamed HAAB leaders for the embezzlement of around Tk 10 crore by supplying 1.02 lakh sub-standard trolley bags for the pilgrims.The demand was made at a press conference under the banner of Hajj-Omrah Agencies Welfare Association of Bangladesh (HOAWAB) led by former HAAB President Jamal Uddin Ahmed and Bangladesh Pilgrims and Hajji Welfare Council President Abdullah Al Naser, held in Dhaka Reporters Unity on Sunday. Allegations of pocketing around Tk 1.05 crore from supplying ID Cards for Hajj guides and Tk 1.93 crore by taking Tk 200 from each of the pilgrims were also raised at the press conference.They held responsible the HAAB leaders for cancelling Hajj flights claiming that despite having visas to the Hajj agencies, they are not buying tickets. As a result, the Hajj flights are being cancelled. It will create trouble during the last phase of Hajj flights, they said. The HAAB leaders, including the members of ticket syndicate, will take Tk 30,000 to Tk 50,000 by giving tickets to the pilgrims that failed to fly to Saudi Arabia due to cancellation of Hajj flights, they alleged. Abdullah Al Naser, also HOAWAB Member Secretary, presented the detailed of corruption and irregularities of the existing HAAB leadership.Naser said that Bangladesh government had cancelled licenses of 69 Hajj and Omrah agencies out of total accused 104 agencies as per the requirement of Saudi Arabian government due to their alleged involvement with human trafficking in the name of Hajj and Omrah. The licenses of the agencies of HAAB President Mohammad Ibrahim Bahar (Megatop Travel) and Secretary General Shaikh Md. Abdullah (Sanjari Travels and Tours) were also cancelled that time.HOAWAB Convener Jamal Uddin Ahmed said though the HAAB leaders claimed that 11,000 extra quotas were given for Bangladesh, it was not given yet. Those will be given only after completion of sending the previously allocated pilgrims to the country.He claimed no one said that the Religious Affairs Secretary or the Hajj Office Director are corrupts. They are trying to manage the Hajj properly. But, the HAAB leaders are trying to create problems by avoiding buying tickets of Hajj flights. The government should take steps.Meanwhile, HAAB President Ibrahim Bahar denied all the allegations against them.He claimed that the leaders of HOAWAB do not have authority to call such a press conference. Necessary actions will be taken against them.

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