(MENAFN - Arab News) The government will remove about 1,800 real estate properties worth SR 30 billion in the central region of Makkah, including 400 hotels and furnished apartments for Haram expansion and new Makkah development projects.
"The demolition work in six areas around the Grand Mosque will start by the beginning of next month," said Abbas Qattan, assistant mayor for projects and supervisor of the mosque's northern courtyard development project.
He said the government has approved SR 30 billion compensation for properties acquired for the development projects including two railway stations, three public transport stations and northern courtyard expansion.
The newly acquired land covers Shaab Aamir, Jabal Abadi, Jabal Al-Madafie, Jarwal, Jabal Al-Kaaba, Jabal Al-Qala and Jabal Ajyad. Property owners have been asked to approach authorities to get their compensation.
Electricity and water connections to the targeted buildings will be removed on Muharram 15, 1434H (Nov. 29) in preparation for their demolition.
Meanwhile, Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Khodairy, deputy governor of Makkah, revealed plans to introduce a wristband to distinguish legal pilgrims from illegal ones. Such a system is already in place for foreign pilgrims.
"There is another plan to take fingerprints of foreign pilgrims in their countries before they arrive in the Kingdom, as part of a comprehensive e-data system," he said.
At present fingerprints of pilgrims are taken on arrival at Saudi airports and other entry points.
He stressed the importance of imposing punishment on illegal domestic pilgrims who create problems for other pilgrims and Haj managers.