Official says slow completion of compensation procedures hampering expansion plans
The owners of nearly 2,000 properties acquired for the Grand Mosque expansion in Makkah are still owed compensation, an official of the development committee has revealed.
Muhammad Taha Fakieh, an official with the Grand Mosque Development Committee, told the Saudi Gazette that owners had yet to receive their money due to their delay in completing the necessary procedures.
“Compensation was distributed among more than 50% of real estate owners after they furnished the required documents, including original title deeds, and completing other procedures. Owners of more than 1,900 properties have so far not completed the procedures,” he explained.
Fakieh urged owners to speed up their compensation claims as authorities were striving to complete the demolition of properties located around the Grand Mosque, especially in the Ghazza, Raqoubah and Al Naqa locales, so as to facilitate prayer areas for worshippers.
Furthermore, he said that some sites had been earmarked as parking areas for Saudi Public Transport Company buses, which would ease the flow of traffic to the Grand Mosque.
The $21.3bn expansion project was launched in August 2011 by King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. It consists of three phases – construction of a new building, expansion and development of courtyards around the mosque, including walkways, tunnels and toilets, and the development of service facilities for air-conditioning, electricity and drinking water.
The expansion of the northern courtyard alone would add 300,000m2 to the holiest shrine in Islam.
As a result, Fakieh said that the development committee had so far expropriated more than 4,600 plots of land in two phases.