State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Mir Mohammad Nasir Uddin resigned yesterday.
Official sources told The New Nation that Mir Nasir tendered his resignation at the prime Minister’s Office (PMO) last evening against the backdrop of widespread criticism over the alleged mishandling of hajj-flight issue.
Sources close to the PMO said Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia was unhappy over hajj-flight mismanagement that generated a crisis and cast a shadow of uncertainty about the pilgrimage of non-ballotee hajjis and asked him to resign.
Mir Nasir earned criticism from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, wrath of the non-ballotee hajjis and members of HAAB when the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism fixed airfare for non-ballotee hajjis at US$ 1,150 and US$ 950 for the ballotee hajjis to ferry them to and from the KSA.
Taking advantage of the situation foreign airlines fixed the fare at US$ 1350.
About 50,000 persons are expected to perform hajj from Bangladesh this year. Of them 22,000 are non-ballotee hajj pilgrims.
The Ministry Religious Affairs was critical of the decision while the HAAB (Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh), the apex body of private trading agencies engaged in business of hajj management and hajji transportation, threatened to surrender their trade licenses if the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism did not fix the fare at par with those of the ballotee hajjis.
Leaders of the HAAB yesterday called on the Prime Minister at her office to discuss the issues. Mir Nasir was also present at the meeting.
He tendered resignation after the meeting where Begum Zia worked out a solution.
Mir Nasir is blamed inside the ruling BNP for its defeat in the Chittagong City Corporation elections that reelection opposition Awami League leader Mahiuddin Ahmed by a wide margin.
Meanwhile, the Association of Foreign Airlines in Bangladesh yesterday agreed to ferry hajjis at US$ 1130 per person, US$20 less than that of national flag career Bangladesh Biman, which would carry about 18,000 pilgrims to the KSA.
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