Saudi Arabia to crackdown Zamzam water mafia
Makkah: Authorities have taken the necessary precautions to prevent the thriving illegal sale of Zamzam water, which is available to all pilgrims free of charge at the Haram mosque.
The holy water will be accessible to Umrah pilgrims. A five member committee has been formed to track down the so-called Zamzam mafia, mainly illegal Africans and south Asians, who virtually monopolised the holy water distribution at the refill station in the past.
A source at the committee, who requested anonymity, told Gulf News that stringent punitive action will be taken against violators of the regulations regarding filling of the holy water. "Those who are found engaged in the illegal sale of the holy water will be slapped with jail terms, fines and deportation. A written assurance not to repeat the violation will be secured from Saudi citizens who are caught in the illegal trade for the first time. In the case of repeated offence, three-day and 15-day jail terms will be given respectively together with fines,” the source said, adding that expatriates engaging in such activity will face imprisonment and deportation.
Committee members have assembled to directly supervise the water distribution at the Kuday station. The gang members, who usually man the taps are no longer seen. In the past, especially during Ramadan and Haj, pilgrims were unable to fill Zamzam cans unless they pay the gang members.
The mafia have also pushed people away from the taps. The committee is comprised of officials from Makkah police, traffic, Jawazat, municipality and the security department called Al Mujahideen.
All pilgrims are assured access to the holy spring, according to Afiyan Al Juaid, director of Zamzam Water Administratino at the Haram Mosque.
"There are about 20,000 five-gallon sports water coolers, 800 large multi-tap water dispensers, and over 40 fiberglass tanks all filled with Zamzam water,” he said.
Umrah pilgrims are expected to consume more than two million liters of Zamzam water daily from the water coolers filled around the clock during Ramadan.