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Mina to accomodate 185,000 more Hajis
Monday June 3, 2013 8:43 PM, IINA

The first phase of the massive plan to shift offices of government departments and agencies from Mina to the precincts of Muzdalifah will be implemented during the coming Haj season, according to Makkah Governor Prince Khaled Al-Faisal.

With the plan's implementation, the capacity of the holy site of Mina will be increased by 23 percent so as to accommodate 185,000 more pilgrims. Prince Khaled, who is also chairman of the Central Haj Committee, said that shifting of the departments to the huge complex of new government buildings in Muzdalifah will be completed in two phases.

The governor made the remarks when he was briefed on the progress of the Muzdalifah project at a ceremony held at his office in Makkah on Sunday.

"Those departments, which are concerned with Haj-related services and whose presence is not necessary in Mina will be shifted to the new facility during this year's Haj. This will make more space available for the growing number of Haj pilgrims," he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Assistant Minister of Finance Muhammad Al-Mazeed said that the sprawling Muzdalifah complex, covering a total area of two million square meters, would comprise residential and office buildings. It can accommodate as many as 10,000 officials and employees.

There would be 3,200 office and housing units in addition to 13 buildings, five entrances and a huge water tank with a capacity to hold 36,000 cubic meters of water that would be sufficient for 15 days. The complex would also house warehouses, electricity power plant and a helipad.

Equipped with about 1,000 instruments and machinery, more than 6,000 workers are engaged in implementing the project on a war-footing. Al-Mazeed said that the work will finish within the stipulated period of seven months. In the first phase, some government departments will be shifted to the facility in mid Dhul Qaada (second half of September), he added.

Nearly, two years ago, the late Crown Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz, who was also chairman of the Supreme Haj Committee, formed a committee, under his chairmanship, to carry out studies about the prospect of shifting government departments from Mina.

The committee recommended that shifting the departments, which are not directly serving the pilgrims, from the tent city is essential.

The Tent City of Mina is a narrow valley with a total area of 20 square kilometers, situated five km east of the Grand Mosque in Makkah. Muzdalifah is a valley between Mina and Mount Arafat where Haj pilgrims spend the night after their standing on the plains of Arafat, on Dhul Hijja 9, marking the climax of the annual pilgrimage.

The Saudi authorities are exerting all efforts to find more space in the tent city to accommodate the growing number of pilgrims every year. A study is under way to level some mountains in Mina and construct more tents and buildings so as to accommodate the pilgrims.

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