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Barcoded Mina Tents to help Pilgrims

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Jeddah: The Hajj pilgrims performing the Hajj later this year will be able to locate their tens with the help of barcode, in case they stray away from them. Every pilgrim will be given wrist straps containing his personal barcode and if any pilgrim loses his way, scouts will be able to guide them using these barcodes. The Saudi Hajj Ministry is directing the Hajj organizations from across the world to issue these barcodes.
Mohammed Al-Ruwaished, head of the information technology committee at the Youth Welfare Presidency’s scout camp said new roads and gateways in the holy sites of Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifa are being added to Google maps to help pilgrims make printouts of these maps from anywhere in the world.
In a related development, Eissa Rawwas, Saudi deputy Haj minister for Umrah affairs, said the application of the electronic Haj gateway system would be made mandatory from next year. The system will be linked with Haj visas. “We have applied the first phase of the system this year,” he said, adding that the next phase would start on Rabiul Awwal 1, 1436 (Dec. 23). He said the ministry has deployed 1,500 employees to ensure the smooth movement of pilgrims from their tents to Jamrat for the stoning ritual. Rawwas said the ministry would ask all Hajj organizations to keep 50% of their pilgrims in Mina on 13th Dhul Hijjah in the coming years to avoid overcrowding at the “mataf,” or circumambulation area around the Holy Kaaba in Makkah. “Last year, we noticed that only 300,000 pilgrims remained in Mina for the third day of stoning at the Jamrat,” he said.
As this year’s Arafat Day falls on Friday, a large number of pilgrims are expected to join the annual pilgrimage. Hatim Qadi, Hajj ministry spokesman, said his ministry was not afraid of the large turnout of pilgrims on Friday because arrangements have been completed to host the guests of God.
“The government has taken measures to prevent the entry of illegal pilgrims who do not carry valid Hajj permits,” he said, adding that stiff punishment would be imposed on such violators. “People should think several times before violating the country’s rules and regulations,” he added.