Report: Saudi Arabia has Spent $320b on Holy Shrines Projects
Saudi Arabia has spent up to 120 billion Saudi riyals ($320b approximately) for the expansion of the holy sites to host more than two million pilgrims performing the Hajj rituals annually, according to a report by Kuwait Times on Sunday.
According to the report, a Saudi textile company made 40,000 tents from fire-proof cotton in 1999 for the pilgrims gathering in Mina. Each tent is equipped with an air-conditioning set, power and a fire siren. This project has cost up to 2.9 billion SR. The authorities have put on alert well-equipped fire brigades particularly at sites where they are usually jammed with the pilgrims and built 3,000 toilets.
In 1997, a raging fire gutted the pilgrims' tents in Mina, killing 350 people and injuring 1,600 others and demolished 70,000 tents -- a third of the tents pitched in the region. The authorities have made special precautions in Mina because it is the site where the highest number of pilgrims gather, said the Kuwait Times.
In addition, said the paper, the kingdom has built a huge network of roads in Mecca to facilitate the pilgrims' movement, expanded Al-Jamarat bridge in Mina and built many medical clinics, drinking water taps and police stations.
More than 20,000 people work in Al-Muaiseem slaughterhouse, one of the largest slaughterhouses in the world, whose construction cost up to 470 million SR.
There, millions of sheep and cattle, sacrificed by the pilgrims, are killed, packed and distributed among poor Muslims all over the world.
However, the Hajj season is a good opprtuinity for local traders to earn a lot of money from the pilgrims who take back home a wide range of commodities from miswaks [natural wooded tooth brush] to blankets, clothes, videos and satellite receivers among others.
In fact, the Hajj season was the number one source of income in the kingdom before oil was discovered in the Gulf state – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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