Saudi authorities have warned Hajj service companies that they will be fined up to SR100,000 (around $26,681) in case there is any delay in the departure of pilgrims. The deadline has been set at the 15th day of the Islamic month of Muharram (Oct. 29).
“The companies will be slapped a fine between SR25,000 and SR100,000, and the punishment will be more if they are found repeatedly violating the rule,” Arab News quoted an official statement from the directorate general of immigration.
The directorate has also warned that the fine amount will be multiplied by the number of pilgrims who fail to depart the Kingdom. Following the Sunday announcement, there is reportedly a huge rush at departure points in Madinah.
Meanwhile, some Makkah residents fear there is so much garbage left in the holy sites by Hajj 2015 pilgrims that it won’t be possible to clean it up until Hajj 2016. The residents have already lodged their complaints to the municipality.
According to estimates by the Ministry of Hajj’s Madinah office, 525,483 pilgrims have left by air or land routes. Reports have suggested that 35,322 people have left through land routes while over 322,661 people have left from Prince Mohammad bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah.
According to Mohammad Al-Bijawi, director general of the Ministry of Hajj’s office in Madinah, the office is working on sending off every pilgrim according to the schedule. Bijawi has said the departure process has been going on smoothly in accordance with the operational plan, Saudi Gazette reported.
Those who fail to depart the Kingdom by the deadline would be termed as “overstayers,” and they have to deal with legal actions against them.