MAKKAH — The Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques has opened 125 gates at the Grand Mosque to facilitate the entry and exit of Umrah pilgrims, who started arriving on Nov. 23 (Safar 1) with the beginning of the Umrah season.
Some 475 male and female officers will guard the gates and monitor the movement of pilgrims and visitors, Makkah Arabic daily reported on Wednesday.
No one will be allowed to enter the Grand Mosque when worshipers leave after prayers to prevent stampede.
The gates have digital signs which indicate the best time to enter the Grand Mosque. If there is enough room to accommodate worshipers and pilgrims, green sign will light up and if the Grand Mosque is full the sign will turn red. The presidency closed a number of gates because of the expansion work, but opened new gates.
There are 16 gates and escalators for people with special needs. These are: King Fahad Gate, Arafah Gate, Quraish Gate, Al-Safa Gate, Al-Marwa Gate, Al-Qararah Gate, gates from 9-64, 10-74, 11-84, 12-94, Al-Salam Gate, Al-Safa Escalator, Al-Arqam Escalator, Al-Marwa Escalator, Al-Qararah Escalator and Murad Escalator.
The Haj Ministry announced recently that the arrangements made during 2012 to restrict the number of pilgrims because of space constraints due to the ongoing expansion of the Grand Mosque would continue in the coming season also. The ministry made 20 percent and 50 percent cuts in the number of foreign and domestic Haj pilgrims respectively while the period of Umrah visas was reduced from one month to 14 days.
The e-tracking system is the major highlight of the e-regulations introduced by the ministry. The system enables the ministry to have an electronic control on the entire process, including issuance of visas, monitoring of services provided to pilgrims, entry and departure of pilgrims etc.
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