Saudi Deputy Hajj Minister: A New Project To Reduce Heat In Holy Sites
Saudi Deputy Minister of Hajj Dr. Abdul Fattah Mashat announced the development of a project to reduce temperatures in Makkah's holy sites, noting that his country welcomed all Muslims of different cultures and languages and from all around the world.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Dr. Mashat said that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Holy City, launched an initiative to alleviate the heat of the holy sites by implementing a project to coat the asphalt, as a way to reduce the temperature by 15 to 20 degrees Celsius.
He said that 3,500 square meters were covered so far and that other sites would be treated over the next year. He added that the project also included measuring the temperature every 10 seconds through sensors placed under the asphalt.
The number of pilgrims during the coming year will reach 15 million, according to the deputy minister, who pointed to the introduction of many programs and committees to ensure the best quality of services provided to pilgrims.
He also revealed a project for the arrival and departure of pilgrims through Prince Abdul Mohsin bin Abdulaziz Airport in Yanbu for the first time, to ease the congestion at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Airport in Madinah.
Dr. Mashat told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Makkah Road project was one of the initiatives that contribute to the achievement of the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. The project allows pilgrims to complete their arrival procedures from five airports: Tunisia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia, in cooperation with several government agencies.
Asked about pilgrims coming from Qatar, the deputy minister emphasized that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in Saudi Arabia “has called on the concerned authorities in the State of Qatar to facilitate the arrival of Qatari brothers wishing to perform Hajj and remove the obstacles imposed by Qatar” to prevent them from coming to Makkah.
The ministry has also invited those responsible for Hajj affairs in Qatar to come to the Kingdom to arrange the arrival of pilgrims, like any other state.
But he added: “The meeting with the Qataris was held on February 13, and it covered all matters related to the organization of the arrival of pilgrims and residents of Qatar to perform Hajj. But the Qatari delegation left without signing the Hajj Agreement, and therefore did not give the Qatari authorities the opportunity for the Hajj companies of Qatar to come to agree with pilgrims’ services providers in the Kingdom.”
“In light of the Qatari State intransigence, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, based on the Kingdom’s values, facilitated the arrival of Muslims from all over the world, in accordance with their affiliations, cultures and languages, by dedicating a link to enable those wishing to perform the Hajj, including our Qatari brothers, to register their data and choose services that meet their needs,” he explained.