Coordination among Haj service bodies ‘excellent’

Prince Khaled Al-Faisal views the model of one of the projects being implemented by the Holy Sites Development Authority.
Makkah Emir Prince Khaled Al-Faisal addresses a press conference in Muzdalifah on Tuesday.

Saudi Gazette

MAKKAH — Emir of Makkah Prince Khaled Al-Faisal has said he is extremely impressed by the high level of coordination among various government and private bodies involved in the pilgrimage service.

The prince was addressing a press conference at Muzdalifah on Tuesday after inspecting the arrangements made for the guests of God in the holy sites.

As many as 1,570,054 pilgrims arrived in the Kingdom from abroad by air, sea and overland until Tuesday evening, according to officials.

Prince Khaled, who is also chairman of the Central Haj Committee, said the largest contingent of pilgrims came from Indonesia, followed by Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Turkey and Iran.

Prince Khaled said a total of 224,655 Haj permits were issued to pilgrims within the country.

He said 87 phony Haj offices were busted and their owners handed over to the Public Prosecution.

The emir said 2,760 people, consisting of Saudis and expatriates, were caught transporting pilgrims without permits and all of them would be put on trial.

He also revealed that 355,453 violations of Haj regulations were detected while 157,335 cars without permits were turned back from police checkpoints on roads leading to Makkah and the holy sites.

Prince Khaled said the Haj Terminal at King Abdulaziz International Airport receives more than 40,000 arriving pilgrims daily.

He told reporters that Makkah and the holy sites would be among the world’s smartest cities within 10 years.

Prince Khaled said every year more than 3 million pilgrims assemble in Makkah and the holy sites. The masses move between the holy sites six times over a period of five days.

The emir began his tour of the holy sites by a visit to the field hospital of the armed forces in Arafat. The hospital has 50 beds, an operations room, an X-ray lab and other facilities.

He also reviewed projects implemented by the Authority for the Development of the Holy Sites including the expansion of roads, the shading of pedestrian passages and the separation of the paths for pedestrians and vehicles.

The emir also reviewed the Haj plan of the municipality, which has established 27 civic centers and employed more than 23,000 workers and cleaners for the Haj operation.

Meanwhile, Commander of the Haj Security Forces Maj. Gen. Khaled Bin Qarar Al-Harbi said his forces would be using maximum potentials and resources to ensure the safety and security of the pilgrims.

“There are enough soldiers and civilian cadres to meet all the requirements of safety and well being of the pilgrims,” he added.

Director of Civil Defense Maj. Gen. Sulaiman Al-Amr said so far there were no cases of environmental pollution in Makkah or the holy sites.

“We have more than 18,000 personnel using 3,000 pieces of equipment to ensure the safety of the pilgrims,” he added.

There are also 105 centers for the Civil Defense scattered all over Makkah, Madinah and the holy sites.

The Ministry of Haj and Umrah has reduced the fees for nurseries and kindergartens set up in Makkah for the children of pilgrims during the Haj days from SR2,500 to SR1,950.

The nurseries and kindergartens will accept the children aged one month to six years.

According to the General Authority for Statistics (GaStat), there are more than 192,000 government and private employees working during the Haj to serve the pilgrims.

The authority said the Saudi manpower consists of 189,113 men and 3,141 women who work in shifts 24 hours a day to serve the guests of God.

It said there are 52 police centers in Makkah and the holy sites in addition to 80 traffic police stations.

The Department of Passports has more than 5,000 staff working in three airports, seven land entry points and three seaports to process the passports of the pilgrims.

The Passport Control, with 86 counters at the KAIA, can complete the entry procures in a matter of nine seconds for each pilgrim.

Saudi gazette

Hassan Usman Author

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