JEDDAH: Irfan Mohammed
Published — Friday 13 June 2014
Last update 13 June 2014 2:04 pm
Saudi Arabia has announced a comprehensive security plan to deal with the large influx of pilgrims to Makkah expected during the holy month of Ramadan.
The plan takes into consideration possible stampedes at the Grand Mosque in Makkah and some ongoing expansion projects in the area.
In view of this, the authorities have begun gearing up crowd management and traffic control in the holy city ahead of Ramadan. The police, municipality and the Presidency of the Holy Mosques Affairs are drawing up plans to cope with the expected crowds in the city in the fasting month.
Municipal Affairs Minister Prince Mansour bin Miteb held a high-level meeting in Makkah on Thursday with top officials of the Makkah Municipality and police officers, according to official sources.
Prince Mansour chaired the meeting in which the Kingdom’s Director General of Public Security Maj. Gen. Osman bin Nasser Al-Mahrraj, Makkah region police chief Maj. Gen. Abdulaziz Al-Souli, Makkah Mayor Osama Al-Bar and other high-ranking officials participated to draw up a strategy to finalize the arrangements for Ramadan preparations in the holy city, Osama Al Zaitoony of Makkah Municipality said.
He said that the meeting focused on making it easier for the pilgrims to complete their rituals amid the expansion work in the Grand Mosque.
Prince Mansour has directed officials to draw up a plan to enable pilgrims and worshippers to have a smooth Umrah during Ramadan as directed by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and which is being followed up by Makkah Gov. Prince Mishal bin Abdullah, he added.
Al-Zaitoony said that the municipality and police officials discussed crowd management amid the ongoing infrastructure projects in the holy city in addition to the Haram expansion and other development works around the Grand Mosque.
He said that the meeting also reviewed the preparations for this year’s Haj.
The Makkah Traffic Department has prepared a comprehensive plan to ease traffic and flow of pilgrims during the holy month.
Col. Ali Zahrani of Makkah Traffic Police told Arab News that elaborate traffic arrangements have been made to enable the pilgrims and visitors to have easy access to the Grand Mosque, keeping in view the ongoing massive construction work in and around the Grand Mosque area.
He said that all arrangements are in place to facilitate the smooth flow of the unprecedented number of pilgrims who are expected to flock to the city from all over the world during the holy month, which coincides with the annual summer vacation.
Maj. Gen. Yahya Al-Zahrani, commander of the Grand Mosque, has advised all security guards inside the Grand Mosque to display their professional skills and humane approach with the increasing number of guests in the holy month.
According to a statement issued by the Presidency of the Grand Mosque, special orientation classes for security guards of the Grand Mosques were conducted Wednesday.