P.K. Abdul Ghafour, Arab News — Saturday, 30, September, 2006 (08, Ramadhan, 1427) JEDDAH, 30 September 2006 — The first phase of the new Jamrat expansion project in Mina will be completed by the beginning of December ahead of the next Haj season, according to Habeeb Zainul Abideen, deputy minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs. “We have already completed 70 percent of the first phase. God willing, the remaining part will be ready within the next 65 days,” the minister said, adding that about 10,000 people have been working round the clock to finish the project on time. The SR4.2-billion ($1.12-billion) project was designed by the government as part of its efforts to avoid stampedes and crowding in the Jamrat area. In the past, hundreds of pilgrims have died performing the stoning ritual with 360 pilgrims losing their lives as a result of a massive stampede on the last day of the Haj last year. Speaking about the progress of work at Jamrat, an engineer said work on two underpasses named after King Faisal and Al-Jowhara have been completed. The underpasses will be used for vehicle movement. About 80 percent of the basement, which will be used for collecting stones, disposing wastes and parking ambulances, is also ready, the engineer said. The ground and first floors of the new Jamrat facility will be completed before Haj, which is scheduled to start on Dec. 29. The Saudi Binladin Group, which won the contract last year, has set up a huge factory in Bahra on an area of 450,000 square meters to supply concrete blocks required for the project. The new facility includes two helipads, which will help in the speedy evacuation of casualties in case of accidents. The new structure will have 10 entrances and 12 exits distributed over the four levels plus the ground floor to accommodate pilgrims coming from different directions. The ground and first floor will be used by pilgrims coming from the east of Mina, who account for the bulk of the crowd. The second level will be used mainly by pilgrims coming from the direction of Makkah, the third level by those coming from the north of Mina and new pilgrim camps and the fourth level by pilgrims coming from the south of Makkah via King Abdul Aziz Road. ------------------------- Fair Use Notice This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. (See: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.) If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.