Authorities urged to probe Makkah escalator scam

Monday, March 26, 2018

By Faisal Al-Sulami

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

MAKKAH — Electric stairs established by the municipality near pedestrian bridges in Makkah four years ago remain unutilized drawing the anger of the public, who wanted the authorities to launch an investigation into the scandal and take quick action to commission them.

Abid Al-Muwalled said the people of Makkah were happy when the municipality implemented the escalator project near pedestrian bridges. “But our happiness did not last long as the municipality failed to operate the stairs even though four years have passed since their construction,” he told Okaz/Saudi Gazette.

He said the people had expected the project would bring about a qualitative improvement in life by helping the elderly and women to cross the roads. Unfortunately the stairs remained idle throughout the past four years, he said while criticizing the municipality’s negligence and waste of public money.

“The stalled project is a good example for wastage of public money. After installing the stairs on these bridges we thought it would become operational shortly. Four years have passed after implementing the project, but we don’t see any progress,” he explained.

Al-Muwalled asked the municipality to disclose the reasons behind the stalled project. “There is no justification for the municipality to keep these stairs idle without functioning after spending millions of riyals on their installation,” he said.

He emphasized the need to operate the stairs as early as possible after removing all obstacles as they would help the elderly and the weak to cross the roads without difficulty. It will also protect the public, especially the elderly and children, against run-over accidents, he added.

Mufti Al-Buqaili said the municipality built escalators on a number of pedestrian bridges spending millions of riyals. “These electric stairs will become useless if they remain dysfunctional for years and the money spent on the project would go to waste,” he told Okaz/Saudi Gazette.

“This is the first time I am seeing a project which has been completed but cannot be operated,” Al-Buqaili said and urged the authorities to launch a probe into the scandal. “The municipality should move quickly to solve the problem and operate the stairs without further delay.”