State-owned firm proposed to develop Mina infrastructure

481The Haj Ministry has proposed the establishment of a state-owned company to construct multistory buildings on Mina mountains as part of the efforts to accommodate more pilgrims in the tent city during Haj.

Haj Minister Bandar Hajjar said the proposal has been presented to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Naif, chairman of the Supreme Haj Committee, which includes a mechanism to finance the project.

Hajjar proposed a fully government-owned company, which would be established on the basis of a Cabinet decision, in order to develop holy sites and construct residential buildings on Mina mountains.

“The huge company will have subsidiaries for leasing and maintenance,” the minister said, adding that project financing could be done through either public funds or commercial banks. Hajjar said the company would solve many existing problems, such as inadequate air-conditioning, water and electricity supply and sewage services. “It will also increase the capacity of Mina,” he added.

He said the buildings would be constructed in Mina following the conditions set by the Council of Senior Islamic Scholars and the development plan for holy sites.

Mohammed Badahdah, assistant secretary-general of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, said it would speed up the construction of buildings in Mina.

“I hope the government will establish the company quickly to embark on construction work in order to help millions of Muslims around the world fulfill their dream of performing Haj without delay,” he said.

“There are more than 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. A good number of them intend to perform Haj every year, but we cannot accommodate them due to the shortage of space at the holy sites and ongoing expansion work at the Grand Mosque in Makkah,” he told Arab News.

He said that Islamic scholars have already approved construction of buildings in Mina to accommodate growing numbers of pilgrims. “They have already constructed buildings on Mina mountains on an experimental basis. The new company will be able to construct more buildings within a short period.”

Speaking about another proposal to set up a company to manage Haj affairs, Badahdah said it would not be possible in the short-term.

“The comprehensive management of Haj affairs requires a specialized company and will take time,” he said, while emphasizing the need to improve services being extended to the guests of God and making use of modern technology.

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