Experts warn on effects of blasting mountains

Updated 26 August 2014
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Experts warn on effects of blasting mountains

The National Center for Earthquakes and Volcanoes has warned of the adverse environmental effects of detonating the region’s mountains to make way for infrastructures projects.
The center monitored earthquake activities in the Western Region and provides environmentally-friendly alternatives for dealing with natural physical structures. “Government bodies can use other safer and less harmful alternatives to preserve the geological structure of synthetic rocks and ensure hydrogeological and environmental standards in Makkah,” said Abdullah Al-Attas, assistant chief of the Saudi Geological Survey for Technical Affairs.
The government plans to spend SR160 billion over the next 20 years on a new residential area that will house 800,000 people.
This is a mega-project spanning 108 million sqm that will be built in the western part of Makkah.
Abdullah Radwan, a member of the contractors’ committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), reaffirmed that cooperation between construction firms and the Saudi Geological Survey exists.
“It is, however, necessary to remove certain mountains to build bridges or to develop poorer areas in line with government plans to spend billions to develop the whole of Makkah,” he said.
“Constructions firms don’t know how to deal with Makkah’s mountains since this is a sensitive geological issue,” he told Arab News. Still, these firms are trying to find safer ways to remove these mountains without having negatively impacting the geological infrastructure of Makkah.”
Zuhair Al-Nowab, president of the Saudi Geological Survey, had previously told Arab News that “the survey monitored a number of earth earthquakes in the Western Region. There is a possibility of a strong earthquake occurring at the Red Sea’s west coast, but no strong earthquake had been registered for 20 years.”
“Strong earthquakes usually occur every 30 years, but the most advanced technologies cannot predict the exact time an earthquake will take place. However, the city’s infrastructure plays a pivotal role in averting possible natural catastrophes.”


Green light for crown prince-led Saudi privatization program

Updated 56 min 5 sec ago
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Green light for crown prince-led Saudi privatization program

  • The Privatization Program is one of 12 key elements of the Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030
  • The program is aimed at increasing job opportunities for Saudi nationals

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Council of Economic and Development Affairs on Tuesday approved the Privatization Program that is one of 12 key elements of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

The program is aimed at increasing job opportunities for Saudi nationals, attracting the latest technologies and innovations, and supporting economic development.

It encourages both local and foreign investment in order to enhance the role of the private sector, with government entities adopting a regulatory and supervisory role. The aim is to increase the private sector’s contribution to GDP from 40 percent to 65 percent by 2030. 

The program will aim to reach its objectives through encouraging the private sector to invest in establishing new schools, universities and health centers, while the government pursues its organizational and supervisory role in health and education.

The privatization program aims to benefit from previous success stories, with the private sector’s collaboration in the development of infrastructure, and its involvement on a large scale in sectors such as energy, water, transport, telecommunications, petrochemicals and finance.

The program sets out a series of objectives in three areas: Developing a general legal framework for policies related to privatization; establishing organizational foundations and dedicated institutions to execute the policies; and setting a timescale for their delivery. 

The Council of Economic and Development Affairs is headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.