(MENAFN - Arab News) The number of vacant plots blocking the Haramain High Speed Rail Project, joining Makkah and Madinah, has risen by 40.6 percent in the last two months, local media said quoting an official source at the Ministry of Transport.
The Jawhara Thuwal Plan in north Jeddah has the largest number of vacant plots whose owners have not yet finalized the expropriation procedures.
The rail plan calls for taking over 130 plots to carry out the project. The original number was 190 only two months ago which were to be distributed between Makkah and Bahra, the source told Al-Eqtisadiyah.
The source, who asked for anonymity, said the rail project will go ahead despite the existence of lands whose owners still have to finalize the expropriation procedures.
The ministry is set to address the Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) to invite the owners of the lands located at the Jawharah Thawl Plan in this regard.
He said the ministry will not be held responsible for any price hikes of lands resulting from the delay of owners to consult the Land Assessment Committee and will deprive them from re-assessment claims after the expiry of the last announcement deadline.
The ministry has prerogatives to implement the project even if the owners fail to show up in accordance with the system of property expropriation for public interests.
On objections leveled by owners over the prices by the committee earlier, he said the ministry has re-assessed many lands based on decisions made by the Chamber of Grievances. However, a few lands are awaiting re-assessment after the approval of the representative of the Ministry of Finance, he said.
The Haramain High Speed Rail project, also known as the "Western Railway" is a 449.2 kilometers high speed inter-city rail transport system. It will link Madinah and Makkah via King Abdullah Economic City, Rabigh, Jeddah, and King Abdulaziz International Airport.