Hajj agents face penalties from Saudi disciplinary council for breaching contracts with pilgrims

An aerial view shows pilgrims circumambulating the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. (AFP)
Updated 08 September 2017

Hajj agents face penalties from Saudi disciplinary council for breaching contracts with pilgrims

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has referred a group of Tawafa service providers, including some Hajj offices serving Algerian pilgrims, to the ministry’s disciplinary council pending trial and application of penalties against them.
The ministry stressed it will apply strict penalties on Tawafa establishments proved to have breached service contracts signed between them and pilgrims. Penalties will range between fines and revoking permission to practice the profession.
The disciplinary council, which comprises representatives of the Ministry of Interior and the Public Prosecution, is assigned to look into Tawafa establishments in breach of regulations stipulated in the Tawafa system, and other decisions and regulations ordered by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
This will be the first case where Tawafa service providers have been referred to the appropriate authorities in the Kingdom. Three years ago, the then-Bureau of Investigation and General Prosecution (BIGP), currently the Public Prosecution, referred one employee of the National Establishment of Tawafa for South Asian Pilgrims in Makkah Region to court for insulting and questioning the integrity of the ministry’s staff.
Meanwhile, Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammed Salih Bentin on Wednesday honored a number of the ministry staff for their efforts and accomplishments, as well as their effective contributions to the success of the current Hajj season. The ceremony came on the sidelines of the annual party for the heads and members of Hajj affairs offices, and guests of the Hajj mega-symposium of the current Hajj season.
Those honored included the adviser and general supervisor to the Hajj mega-symposium, Hatim Qadi; the head of the organizing committee of the symposium Hisham Al-Abbas; head of the scientific committee, Yusuf Al-Faqi; the head of logistics committee, Bandar Al-Sulaimani; head of the media committee Ali Al-Ghamdi; the head of the reception committee, Husam Najm; and the head of the administrative and financial committee, Said Al-Harbi.
In another development, the director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) Salih Al-Jasir on Wednesday inspected the Hajj and Umrah terminal at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah and was briefed on the operational process and Hajj departure flights in their second day. He also met with members of work teams assigned to serve pilgrims and, in this context, expressed his appreciation for their efforts in this regard.
The Saudia chief also lauded the cooperation between Saudia and Hajj grouping agencies and urged them to enhance on the success witnessed by the operational plans of Saudia in the arrival stage of pilgrims which grew by 40 percent compared to pilgrims transported last year.
He said serving pilgrims comes atop priorities of the national carrier (Saudia) and, thus, plays that role as do other government agencies concerned with serving pilgrims. He said they were proud to undertake that responsibility to the fullest.
Measures and arrangements were taken to facilitate the departure of pilgrims and achieve the highest rates of smooth movement, he pointed out.

Organizers promise ‘exceptional’ Saudi National Day celebrations

Updated 27 min 18 sec ago

Organizers promise ‘exceptional’ Saudi National Day celebrations

  • We are keen to have the largest international events to create an exceptional season, says GEA CEO Amr Banaja

RIYADH: Fireworks, concerts, festivals and international performances will be among the highlights of the 89th Saudi National Day celebrations this year.

The General Entertainment Authority (GEA) has announced a season of record-breaking events for the annual celebration.

At a press conference in Riyadh on Sunday, GEA CEO Amr Banaja said that Saudi citizens and residents can enjoy a number of entertainment activities planned across 13 regions of the Kingdom as part of the National Day season being supervised by the GEA from Sept. 19 to 23.

“The GEA is proud to oversee the Saudi National Day Season activities by launching a unified identity that brings together the society under “Himma Hatta El-Qimmah,” Banaja said, inspired by the words of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman: “The Saudis’ strength is like that of the Tuwaiq mountain.”

The GEA was proud to be overseeing the occasion, Banaja said. “We are keen to have the largest international events to create an exceptional season befitting this dear country,” he said.

“This year fireworks celebrations will continue for several days where more than 700,000 shots will be fired at an altitude of up to 300 meters, accompanied by music,” he said.

Celebrations will be held in all regions during the season, and visitors will be able to enjoy a range of activities that reflected the unity of the nation and the cohesion of the people and leadership.

“Distinctive international shows designed especially for the National Day will be held in Riyadh from Sept. 21-23,” he said.

Fireworks will light up Jeddah over Al-Hamra Corniche accompanied by sound and light effects and laser shows.

At the five-day Dhahran Exhibition in Dammam starting on Sept. 19, the world’s largest theatrical producer “Cirque du Soleil” will present a specially designed show for Saudi National Day.

Forty artists will present 14 shows of acrobatics, sports, music, and dance. Eight concerts will also be held in a number of regions where, besides international stars, Saudi and Gulf artists will present patriotic songs.

The concerts will begin on the first day of the season on Sept. 19 at Al-Jouf University Stadium in Sakaka with performances by Khaled Abdulrahman and Nabil Shuail.

The next day, a concert will be held at King Khalid Sport City in Tabuk staged by artists Abdullah Al-Rowaished and Aseel Abu Bakr.

On Sept. 21, Majid Al-Mohandes and Dalia Mubarak will perform at Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Musaed Stadium in Hail.

On Sept. 22, two concerts will be performed at King Abdullah Sports City in Buraidah by artists Rashid Al-Majid and Balqees Fathi; the second at Prince Sultan Cultural Center in Jazan by “The Artist of Arabs” Mohammed Abdo and Turki.

On Saudi National Day (Sept. 23), three concerts will be held in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.

Thousands will gather at King Fahd Cultural Center in Riyadh to listen to singers Hussein Al-Jasmi and Abadi Al-Jawhar.

In Jeddah, Rabeh Saqr and the artist Waad will perform at King Abdullah Sports City, while in Dammam, and in the Green Halls in Riyadh, Kuwaiti singer Nawal and the artist Ayed will entertain the audience.

Five forums will take place in five cities, where a number of speakers will present inspirational events.

Forums will be held in Madinah and Tabuk on Sept. 19, while in Abha and Buraidah the forum will be held on Sept. 21 and in Hail on Sept. 23.

Banaja said that the GEA had created 150 smartphone apps for the National Day celebrations with 40,000 downloaded so far.

He thanked the security authorities for their efforts to make the season a success, and all government, private and nonprofit sectors for their contribution.

The programs were mostly free, he said, though there were some concerts for which tickets could be purchased online.

There will also be a major aero show in Riyadh, Jeddah and the Eastern Province, and a Saudi falcon show will be organized in Riyadh, Jeddah and Alkhobar.