A comprehensive 30-year plan to expand the Mina valley so as to accommodate seven million pilgrims has got the approval of the Board of Senior Ulema, as reported by Al-Eqtisadiah Arabic daily. The plan is part of the scheme to develop Makkah and the holy sites which was approved by the Council of Ministers about 18 months ago.
Makkah Emir Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, who is also chairman of Makkah and Masha’er development committees, said the master scheme covers the next 30 years. It takes into consideration the expected increase in population, visitors, expansion of the Grand Mosque, transportation plans, infrastructure and economic development.
The scheme envisages development of Mina mountainsides and slopes, and the first stage will cost SR100 billion with the total scheme costing SR200 billion. International consultancy companies, in cooperation with local firms, will participate in initial studies which will take into consideration the topographic nature of Mina’s mountains.
Jamal Shuqdar, in-charge of Mina development at the High Commission for the Development of Makkah and Masha’er, said the plan calls for the reconsideration of building regulations, transportation and cleaning services. The first stage of the plan will accommodate 2 million pilgrims while the second stage will add another 5 million pilgrims. The development scheme will be implemented in different stages so as not to interrupt the intervening Haj seasons.
“The central axis will be linked to a tunnel that will include all necessary services such as cleaning, emergency and others. The development scheme will include six areas, each will have its own transportation, safety and cleaning services. These six areas will be linked through separate routes to the levels of Jamarat and to the Grand Mosque. Each area will also be served with its own transportation services including trains, buses and suspended pedestrian bridges,” he said.
The master scheme will provide business opportunities to Makkah residents and create over 100,000 jobs in hospitality, transportation and food sectors. Environment-friendly transportation systems will be used to minimize the pollution of around 25,000 buses.