100,000 Yemenis to visit holy lands in 2004 [Archives:2004/788/Local News]

November 8 2004

Ramadan month is considered the suitable season for recently-opened al-Haj & al-Umrah agencies spreading all over Yemen's towns and streets.
But the Ministry of al-Haj in Saudi Arabia, by ceasing 90 agency offices in Yemen in the last year, has caused huge losses to these agencies and accumulated additional charges on the natives, i.e. in al-Umrah fees, as the same costs in the previous year reached to S.R.200,
The number of the holy travelers (Mu'tamers) this year, as per the declaration of Mr. Musallem Ali Musallem, the Head of the Consular Section in the Kingdom of Arabia Embassy in Sana'a, has reached to 100,000.
The Ministry of al-Haj in Saudi Arabia Kingdom has imposed additional fees amounting to S.R.650 on every Mu'tamer (holy migrant) as housing fees for a period of ten days at least in addition to S.R.200 as transportation costs from Yemen to the sacred lands & vise versa.
This is imposed through the land transportation agencies which were recently opened between the two countries. As well, one month's extension for the al-Mu'tamer has been allowed, after it was restricted to only 15 days in the last year.
The Yemeni Mu'tamers (holy visitors) are always complaining of bad services rendered by the al-Haj & al-Umrah agencies whereby they ascertain that the housing and transportation fees are imposed with no justification, as the Mu'tamers find themselves being left neglected after having arrived to there.
The Minister of Justice & Endowment has said any agency that violates any clause of the program agreed upon between the Mu'tamers and the Agency will be suspended, and its bank guarantee estimated by four millions Yemeni Riyals, and refund back the rights of the Mu'tamers.