Saudi ministry of hajj unveils 25-year strategic plan

The expansion plan will see welcoming up to 30 million people from Umrah, compared to 20 million people

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The Ministry of Haj has announced the initiation of its administrative and financial strategic plan for the next 25 years.

The plan was designed in cooperation with a consulting company specialized in developing the administrative and financial structure of the ministry to serve the best interests of the pilgrims and offer them the best services possible.

Minister of Haj Bandar Hajjar announced the initiation of the plan in a meeting here on Tuesday.

The administrative and financial infrastructure strategic plan is only supplementary to a more comprehensive 25-year strategic plan of the ministry.

The ministry is working to follow the orders of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and his wish to offer pilgrims and guests of the Grand Mosque efficient services.

The ministry informed that the strategic plan for the next 25 years includes a study on its current status and the ways and means of its development, defining the required vocational positions and its descriptions and evaluating the efficiency of current financial and administrative processes in addition to documenting its outcomes and improving them.

In its efforts to commit to following the strategic plan, the ministry has established an administrative office dedicated to all its strategic initiatives.

According to Makkah’s Mayor Osama Albar the number of people who annually come to Makkah for Haj, Umrah or visit will increase to 30 million from the current 20 million when the expansion projects in the Grand Mosque and the Holy Sites are completed.

Albar told Al-Hayat newspaper on Sunday that the current capacity of the mataf (circumlocution area around the Kaaba) and the masa’a (the path for the ritual walk between the mounts of Safa and Marwa) will be increased threefold to accommodate 130,000 pilgrims an hour.

Albar was talking before a scientific gathering at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah on Saturday titled “The Smart Cities From a Strategic Perspective”.

“Strategic planning is no longer a luxury but an imperative on all government and private organizations,” he said.

Albar said they were about to complete several projects in the holy city including, among others, a solar-powered facility, a green village and the Makkah Gate that will consist of a diplomatic enclave, government offices and other facilities.

He said about 60 new residential districts are currently being constructed in Makkah.

“These are environmentally friendly quarters,” he added.

Albar said the public transport project in Makkah will be completed in 2016.

“We will have about 800 new buses that will daily cross a distance of about 300 kilometers,” he added.

The mayor said the Makkah Metro will have three main railway lines covering a distance of 183 kilometers and have 88 stations, which will also be serving the Haramain Express Train.

“There will be no traffic bottlenecks in Makkah and the city will be free of pollution,” he said.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette.

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