Saudi government claims 5,800 properties
$20bn appropriation part of the Grand Mosque in Makkah expansion
The government in Saudi Arabia has reportedly appropriated 5,800 properties at a cost of SR75bn ($20bn) for the expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
According to the mayor’s office, the latest appropriations include the Dar Al-Tawhid InterContinental Hotel, Saudi daily Arab News reported.
The Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site, is undergoing its largest ever expansion, worth $21.3bn, to increase its capacity to two million pilgrims. It will include modern garbage disposal and security monitoring systems while sunshades will also be established on the northern courtyards of the mosque.
The new annex will be linked with the existing mosque and masaa with a series of bridges and will also be equipped with air conditioning systems and escalators.
The first phase of the expansion included the removal of 1,150 properties at a cost of SR33bn ($8.7bn), while the second stage also included the removal of 1,150 buildings, Arab News said.
It quoted Abbas Qattan, the office’s assistant undersecretary for projects and supervisor of the northern expansion, as saying that the owners of 700 properties have not turned up to claim compensation. In addition, the processing of 900 properties has not been completed because of problems around ownership.
“The properties of unknown owners are considered state properties until the owners show up with the required documents,” he said.
He added that the government plans to build four power plants to provide electricity to the expanded area and a reservoir tank with a capacity of 560,000 cubic metres of water.