Thursday, December 6, 2007

KSA to Host 1.5m Pilgrims from Abroad

Thursday, 06 December 2007
By Adel Al-Malki
The Minister of Haj announced that the number of pilgrims this year performing Haj has increased by more than two million, with 1.5 million coming from abroad.
The figures were announced by Fouad Farsi , the Minister of Haj, at an event that included participation by several government bodies to discuss the grouping of pilgrims on Jamarat Bridges. "This year the total number of pilgrims will reach to 2,500,000 , with only 200,000 pilgrims from Saudi Arabia and the rest from all over the world." Farsi said.
The pilgrims this year should go to Jamarat following a schedule prepared by the governmental bodies to facilitate movement of the pilgrims on the bridge.
"This year there are six entrances to Jamarat. The ground floor has 2 entrances and 4 exits, the first floor has the 2 entrances and 4 exits and the second floor has 2 entrances and one exit,"Ali Al-Ghamdi , the Director of the Media Department in the Ministry of Haj said. There will be a special program for grouping this year which the pilgrims can inquire about to the policemen or their group leader.
The Ministry of Haj asked the pilgrims to avoid the rush hour during the Jamarat ritual from midday to sunset.
"The Ministry of Haj will allocate six stations for luggage in Mina and Muzdalifa under the supervision of Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Central Directorate for Development of Projects for the Makkah Municipality," Al-Ghamdi added.
These stations will take SR 10 as rent for 24 hours and the pilgrims will get a card allowing them reclaim their belongings in cases in which the security officers confiscate the belongings on the way to Jamarat.
The Police Traffic Department asked people who don't have pilgrimmage permission not to go to Makkah.
"The traffic plan will start on the first day of Haj month. Traffic will be directed to the east side of Mina to Muzdalifa then to Arafat from morning time to 3 P.M.," Colonel Fahd Al-Besher the Director General of Police Traffic Department said.
He added this year there will be for the first time two lanes for cars and buses. Also for the first time there will be traffic lights in Arafat to control the movement through the intersections.
There will be 12 separation points between pedestrian and car movements in the central region designed to prevent the entry of vehicles to the central when pilgrims move to the Holy Mosque or return from it.
"The traffic police will prevent private cars from loading and unloading passengers by making sure that people take the special buses arranged for this reason," Al-Besher added.

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