By Ibrahim Alawi
JEDDAH — A workshop on Haj has suggested construction of auxiliary roads between the Grand Mosque in Makkah (Haram) and Mina, where the pilgrims stay for at least three nights during the peak of the pilgrimage.
The workshop, in which about 130 experts from 45 government and private departments participated, suggested that the support roads should extend to the northern expansion areas of the Haram.
It also proposed to limit the daily intensity of the road between Makkah and Madinah to a maximum of 50,000 pilgrims.
It suggested the use of modern technology for cleaning of the Holy Sites and said untraditional methods should be considered for keeping the sacred places perfectly clean, especially during the Haj season.
The workshop called for air-conditioning of all tents in Mina before the upcoming Haj season and said traditional tents in Arafat be replaced by fire-resistance ones or permanent buildings.
It called for adopting measures to avoid the late arrival of pilgrims in the Kingdom and said Dhul Hijja 5 should be the deadline for the arrival after which no pilgrims from abroad should be received.
The recommendations of the workshop will be submitted to Emir of Makkah Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, who is the chairman of the Central Haj Committee.
The participants discussed a number of Haj-related subjects including
accommodation, sustenance, transport, reception and send-off, grouping, enlightenment of the pilgrims and others.
It said the Mashaer train stations should be developed to facilitate the embarking and disembarking of pilgrims.
The participants recommended improving the guiding methods in Mina so that pilgrims do not lose their way.
They also said the roads leading to the train stations and the Jamarat Bridge should be shaded to protect the pilgrims from the scorching heat.
The workshop said the sprinklers used to refresh the air in Arafat, Mina and the pedestrian roads should be increased and made more effective.
It called for obliging the Haj companies to contract big national firms to supply food to the pilgrims.
It said the pilgrims should have the freedom to choose their own means of transport to go to the airport according to their own wishes and needs.
The workshop asked the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) to take the necessary measures to prevent crowding by departing pilgrims at airports.