(MENAFN) Saudi Arabia plans to pour USD400 million on development projects at holy shrines on the outskirts of Makkah, Saudi Press Agency reported.
The plan was announced by Dr Sahal Al-Sabban, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Hajj for Transport and Projects in the holy places, as millions of pilgrims began arriving this week in Makkah for Islam's annual hajj pilgrimage, which starts on Wednesday.
According to the official, the projects would include linking the city of Mina with Jamarat in Al-Azizia, the expansion of the western parts of the holy site of Jamarat, the transfer of the camel and cattle slaughter houses to Al-Sharayea in Mina and improvements to the water circulation in Muzdalifah and Arafat.
Saudi Arabia has spent billions of dollars on expansion projects at the Grand Mosque, building new infrastructure to avert the stampedes and tent fires that marred past pilgrimages with hundreds of deaths. The last deadly stampede was in 2006, when 360 people were crushed to death.
Last year nearly three million pilgrims performed the hajj, with almost a third from inside the Gulf Kingdom.