Pilgrims complain of Zamzam water shortage in Makkah

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Updated 07 July 2014

Pilgrims complain of Zamzam water shortage in Makkah

Pilgrims and visitors are becoming hard-pressed to find bottled Zamzam water with the influx of worshippers flocking to the Grand Mosque during Ramadan and the lack of availability at points of sale.
While Zamzam water, which comes from the Zamzam well at Makkah, is available in abundance in the coolers inside the mosque, pilgrims are unable to find bottled Zamzam water because the only sale point is located in a district that is not frequented by foreign pilgrims.
“I can’t find any bottles to take back to my hotel room,” said Mohammed Abid, an Indian pilgrim who has come to perform the Umrah pilgrimage.
“I also find it too embarrassing to fill an empty bottle with water from the cooler since so many people are waiting in the queue to drink behind me.”
“I want to take Zamzam bottles back home with me, but I can’t find any to purchase,” said Swad Al-Bastawesi, an elderly Egyptian pilgrim.
Other pilgrims echoed similar views about the nonavailability of Zamzam water.
“Around 1,200 cubic meters of Zamzam are consumed every single day inside the Grand Mosque and 486 cubic meters in the surrounding courtyards,” said Ahmed Al-Matrafi, director of the Zamzam Water Department at the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs.
“This translates into around 3 million cups of water daily.”
“In addition, around 300 cubic meters are supplied to the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.”
Supplies are only available in abundance at the Zamzam filling station, located in a faraway area known only to local residents. The filling station, operated by the National Water Company (NWC), is part of a King Abdullah project launched for this purpose.
The area is not even known to residents from Jeddah and other parts of the Kingdom.
“I was approached by several brokers offering to buy the Zamzam filling coupons I had gotten my hands on for double the price, much to my surprise,” said Mohammed Saleem, a Pakistani expatriate who works in Makkah.
The NWC sells coupons for SR5 for a 10-liter jar.
A Saudi national is entitled to 20 jars, while expats are entitled to acquiring 10 jars a month.
The quota, however, is reduced during the peak seasons of Ramadan and Haj.
Saleh M. Sulaimi, a Saudi national, warned that a black market for Zamam water is emerging in the absence of points of sale around the Grand Mosque and in parking and public places.
Inspection squads from the Makkah Municipality and Commerce Ministry recently seized thousands of fake Zamzam water bottles.
Pilgrims can also purchase Zamzam water at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and the airport in Madinah, even though other nearby outlets are limited to selling a five-liter bottle per person.
“I managed to purchase a 10-liter quantity for SR35 at the airport in Jeddah,” said Mohammed Irshad Ali Parvez, an Indian expatriate.

Fraud alert over cryptocurrency falsely linked to Saudi Arabia

Updated 21 August 2019

Fraud alert over cryptocurrency falsely linked to Saudi Arabia

  • The website of a cryptocurrency company is promoting what it calls the CryptoRiyal and SmartRiyal
  • The Singapore-based company uses the Saudi emblem of two crossed swords and a palm tree

JEDDAH: Fraudsters are trying to lure victims into investing in a “virtual currency” with false claims that it is linked to the Saudi riyal and will be used to finance key projects, the Saudi Ministry of Finance warned on Tuesday.

The website of a cryptocurrency company in Singapore is promoting what it calls the CryptoRiyal and SmartRiyal, using the Saudi emblem of two crossed swords and a palm tree. Its “ultimate goal” is to finance NEOM, the smart city and tourist destination being built in the north of the Kingdom, the company claims.

“Any use of the KSA name, national currency or national emblem by any entity for virtual or digital currencies marketing will be subject to legal action by the competent authorities in the Kingdom,” the ministry said on Tuesday.

The fraudsters were exploiting ignorance of how virtual currencies work, cryptocurrency expert Dr. Assad Rizq told Arab News.

“A lot of tricks can be played,” he said. “Some of these companies are not regulated, they have no assets, and even their prospectus is sometimes copied from other projects.

“They hype and pump their project so the price goes up. Inexpert investors, afraid of missing out, jump in, which spikes the price even higher. Then the owners sell up and make tons of money.

“Cryptocurrencies are a risky investment for two reasons. First, the sector is not yet fully regulated and a lot of projects use fake names and identities, such as countries’ names or flags, to manipulate investors.

“Second, you have to do your homework, learn about the technology. And if you still want to invest, consider your country’s rules and regulations.”