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Saturday, April 20, 2024 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
 Shafeeq Alingal
Shafeeq Alingal
Shafeeq Alingal is a Staff Reporter with Gulf Times. He has mainstream media experience of six years. Health, environment and wildlife are among his specialties.
Al Wakra Main Road Upgrade Project to feature pedestrian, cycle pathsrnrn
Qatar
Al Wakra Main Road Upgrade Project to feature pedestrian, cycle paths

While continuing its efforts to provide residents with space to engage in physical activities and encourage a healthy lifestyle, the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) is setting up pedestrian and cycle paths as part of the Al Wakra Main Road Upgrade Project. The 6.1km paths extend from the Airport interchange to the Ras Bu Fontas Metro Station. According to the details on Ashghal website, Al Wakra Main Road Upgrade project will be completed during the second quarter of this year bringing a remarkable development in road traffic improvement between Doha, Al Wakra and the southern areas of the country and creating a strategic link between Doha and Al Wakra. The road will directly connect the newly opened Expressway projects of G-Ring Road and the southern part of Doha Express Highway. Additionally, it serves the residential complexes, located on both the eastern and western sides of the road. The main road of Al Wakra will also be integrated with the metro station. In October last year, Ashghal completed 73% of Al Wakra Main Road Upgrade Project. Also complete are many components of the project where the intersection between Al Wakra Road and Ras Bu Fontas Street was opened to traffic. The recent openings are integrated with Al Wakra Metro Station, one of Qatar Rail's main stations. The opening of the intersection and Al Wakra Tunnel improved traffic between Doha and Al Wakra and provided free traffic flow for road users from Ras Bu Fontas station towards Pearl Roundabout. Ashghal also moved the iconic Pearl structure to Al-Wakra Souq and reinstalled it near Al Farda Roundabout to enable the reconstruction of the Pearl Roundabout into a signal-controlled intersection as part of Al Wakra Main Road Upgrade Project. The upgrade of Al Wakra main road is one of the key projects of Qatar’s expressway network. It will have a significant positive impact on the traffic movement in the country’s southern areas and contribute to reducing pressure on existing roads in other areas of Al Wakra by 60%.    

A screenshot of a section of the participants at the MoI awareness programme.
Qatar
Photography violating privacy to invite action

 The Ministry of Interior (MoI) reiterated on Monday that unauthorised photography in public places with cameras or mobile phones, violating the sanctity of private life will draw a penalty not exceeding QR10,000 and imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years as stipulated by Law No.4 of 2017. Speaking at a virtual awareness programme, First Lieutenant Engineer Abdulaziz Mohamed al-Kaabi from the Economic and Cyber Crimes Combating Department at the General Directorate of Criminal Investigation explained that the law was issued in 2017 after amending Article 333 of the Qatar Penal Code. The seminar on ‘Prevention of Financial and Cyber Crimes’ was organised by the MoI's Public Relations Department as part of a series of awareness programmes for communities in Qatar. Representatives from various companies and communities attended. Al-Kaabi noted that blackmailing is a punishable offence by Qatar Law No.14 of 2014 and it draws imprisonment of not more than three years and a fine of not more than QR100,000 or either of these. Any person who uses information technology or network to threaten or blackmail will face action. Al-Kaabi said the increasing dependency on information technology has led to the emergence of new opportunities for cultural, social, economic, political and legal development and there has been an increase in digital risks because of the irresponsible use of technology. “We see that most of the traditional crimes have moved to the digital environment,” he said while pointing out that the five main types of cyber crimes are hacking, fraud, threat and blackmail, sexual exploitation of children and spreading rumours. The department collects inferences, investigates, probes, searches and tracks offenders while combating cyber crimes. The department, is also responsible for monitoring all activities that violate the law of security and cyberspace and receives complaints from the public and companies and proceeds to find the violators, the official said. While explaining the mechanism to combat cyber crimes, al-Kaabi described that prevention and awareness are the basic lines to address them. The department is carrying awareness campaigns targeting all types of people. The official urged everyone to be careful against phishing and while doing transactions by using ATM and credit cards. Links from untrusted sources should not be opened in email. “Don’t respond to messages from unknown sources saying you won a prize or asking you to share your personal or financial information, and ignore fraudulent messages,” he added. Public can contact the department through Metrash 2 or hotline 66815757 or telephone 2347444 or email [email protected].      

Visitors arriving at Al Khor Carnival venue. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam.
Qatar
Al Khor Carnival a huge draw

The ongoing inaugural edition of Al Khor Carnival, which highlights the cultural legacy and heritage of Qatar and features an array of entertainment and shopping opportunities, is drawing crowds at Al Bayt Stadium Park. Saoud Abdulla al-Mahmoud, member of committee, Al Khor Carnival “We have set up a world of delight and festivities in order to help Qatar residents have an amazing experience while viewing the cultural activities and shows and holding shopping at the bazaars here. The carnival highlights the rich tradition and heritage of culture while lending the opportunity to enjoy live entertainment,” said Saoud Abdulla al-Mahmoud, A member of organising committee, Al Khor Carnival. Described as the “biggest festival of the year”, the carnival is organised and managed by Aspire Zone Foundation. Entry is for free, while the games start from QR10 and premium shows for QR100. Spread over 100,000 sqm, the carnival features fun rides, cultural activities, inflatable park, shopping spaces apart from shows and visual displays in four zones with the first zone allocated for food and beverages with more than 50 vendors.   The second zone is occupied by various government entities including Hamad Medical Corporation, Qatar Museums, and Qatar Red Crescent Society. The third zone has the show areas and entertainment facilities while the fourth zone is dedicated to the bazaar. Food outlets and food trucks offer a wide cuisine to the visitors The bazaar has around 100 outlets selling local and imported products ranging from dates to farming equipment. There is a wide variety of food products, honey and clothes in addition to plants. The kids activity and play areas have a vast area for entertainment, including an inflatable park. “We welcome all to the carnival,” al-Mahmoud said while observing that all services are affordable. The official pointed out that the carnival is attracting visitors from across Qatar including Doha. Efforts are on to hold such events in various areas. “The people are welcoming the idea and this has come as a recognition,” he said. There is a plan to make the carnival a yearly festival, al-Mahmoud added. The authorities have put in place strict precautionary and preventive measures against the Covid-19 pandemic. The carnival, open from 12noon to 10pm at Al Bayt Stadium, will continue until February 6.

Hassan Behoo's art at the carnival features Qatari traditions and football. PICTURES: Shaji Kayamkulam.
Qatar
Art at Al Khor Carnival highlights Qatar's heritage and legacy

With its focus on the Qatari heritage and legacy along with the modern day life, the Sea Shore Art at Al Khor Carnival gives an opportunity to artists to showcase their talent. The carnival has an exclusive place for graffiti that features the resilient face of Qatari art. Saeeda Habeeb's artwork depicts women's life in Qatar Mustafa Ameen at work “We are here to showcase how the Qatari artists work. The graffiti is an attempt to highlight our presence,” said Saeeda Habeeb, who depicts women's life in Qatar - past and present. A member of Qatar Fine Arts Association under Katara - the Cultural Village, she is active in various initiatives aimed to raise awareness and add beautiful elements to public places. The artist is also part of the Jedariart programme of Qatar Museums. Mustafa Ameen, another artist at the carnival, said that the exhibition has lent him an opportunity to highlight his artistic talent while helping the visitors get an insight about the tradition's of Qatar. Another artist, Hassab Behoo’s work at the carnival features the traditions of Qatar and its football ties.

His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani views the parade of the third batch of candidate students of the Ministry of Interior's Police College at the Police Training Institute in Al Sailiya
Qatar
Amir patronises police college graduation

* 112 students from Qatar, Jordan, Palestine and Yemen graduate   His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani patronised the graduation ceremony of the third batch of students of the Ministry of Interior (MoI)'s Police College at the Police Training Institute in Al Sailiya Saturday morning. The ceremony marked the graduation of 112 students, including 93 Qataris from the MoI and various military entities in the State, 10 from Jordan, six from Palestine and three from Yemen. The graduation ceremony was attended by HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani, Oman's Minister of Interior Sayyid Hamoud bin Faisal al-Busaidi, Jordan's Minister of Interior Sameer Ibrahim al-Mobaideen, a number of ministers, heads of diplomatic missions in the State and high-ranking officers of the Ministry of Defence, MoI, the Amiri Guard, State Security and Internal Security Force (Lekhwiya).   The national anthem was played at the outset of the ceremony, following which His Highness the Amir inspected a parade of the 112 graduates. His Highness the Amir also honoured the seven outstanding graduates after the recital of verses from the Holy Qur'an as well as the graduates' and military parades. The third batch then handed over the Police College flag to the fourth batch. This was followed a parade by members of the Tomorrow's Officers' contingent. At the end of the ceremony, the officers of the third batch took the oath and performed the College anthem. Police College director-general Brigadier Dr Mohamed Abdullah al-Muhana al-Marri delivered a speech on the occasion welcoming His Highness the Amir and expressing pleasure with his patronage and honouring of the ceremony. He said the new batch of police officers has fulfilled the requirements for a bachelor's degree in Law and Police Sciences. His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al-Thani, HE the Minister of Interior of the Sultanate of Oman Sayyid Hamoud bin Faisal Al Busaidi, HE the Minister of Interior of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Sameer Ibrahim Al Mobaideen and other dignitaries with the graduates.         While underscoring the college’s endeavours, Brigadier Dr al-Marri said the institution is making continuous efforts by developing academic and training programmes to achieve its mission of graduating highly skilled police officers while enabling them to professionally carry out security tasks and keep pace with the need of the time in terms of behaviour and performance with determination and courage. He stressed this is done while adhering to Arab and Islamic traditions and virtues, and pride in belonging to the homeland and loyalty to His Highness the Amir. Brigadier Dr al-Marri "cited the saying of HH the Amir that human development is one of the most important pillars of Qatar's vision, and the Qatari citizen remains the main focus of concern, by providing the best levels of education that guarantee his advancement and progress", Qatar News Agency added. He stressed the Police College's keenness on providing its students with the latest curricula that keep pace with international standards, including science and knowledge in the policing and legal fields. All Covid-19 precautionary measures were put in place during the ceremony, which saw the participation of the family members of the graduates along with invited dignitaries. A joyous mood prevailed as the graduates were congratulated by their family members, who seemed visibly proud of the achievements of the third batch students.      

Qatar Aid in Belarus
Qatar
Qatar and Belarus set to take ties to higher level, says envoy

Qatar and Belarus are set to take the diplomatic and business ties to higher levels by strengthening co-operation in key areas, Belarus embassy charge d'affaires Denis Kovalev told Gulf Times. The exclusive interview marked the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Qatar and Belarus on January 16. The two countries hold positive political relations and co-operation in various areas including tourism, business, culture, arts and international security, he said. “Our views on the most important global topics are rather common. Our countries support each other in international organisations. We established good co-operation between the interior ministries and many Qatari officers trained in Belarus," Kovalev explained. The previous years have marked the regular visits of high level delegations from the Belarus Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defence for Milipol and Dimdex exhibitions in Qatar. In 2012, Belarus and Qatar exchanged the Days of Culture in Doha and Minsk. Three meetings have been held as part of the Joint Inter Governmental Co-operation with a fourth planned in Minsk. Belarus opened it's embassy in Doha in 2014 while the Qatar embassy started functioning in Minsk in 2019. At present, the embassies are headed by charge d’affaires. “We hope that in future the ambassadors will be appointed,” he said. Kovalev noted that the relations between the two countries developed dynamically over the years and were always based on mutual trust and friendship. In 2001, 2011 and 2016 Belarus president visited Qatar. In 2009, the then Amir His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani visited Belarus in 2009. Former Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani visited Belarus five times. These are in addition to several meetings, attended by the official delegations and visits hosted by the two countries. While it comes to sports and culture, the two countries have been exchanging visits for several years. In May 2014, the official delegation of Qatar, led by the then secretary general of Qatar Olympic Committee HE Sheikh Saud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani visited Minsk to participate in the events of the World Hockey Championship. In 2016, the then secretary general of the Committee of winter sports of Qatar Adel al-Mutlaq visited Minsk during the 12th Christmas International Amateur Ice Hockey Tournament. In July 2019, the delegation of Qatar Olympic Committee visited Belarus to take part in the second European Games. In October 2019, the delegation of the National Olympic Committee of Belarus took part in the meeting of General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees in Doha. Kovalev said cultural ties between the two countries are well established. In March 2012, Days of Belarusian Culture were held in Qatar while Days of Culture of Qatar were organised in Belarus. The Qatari delegation was headed by the then Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage HE Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari. Qatari nationals can visit Belarus without visa for 30 days after an official decree was issued in 2011 while Qatar announced visa free entry for Belarusian citizens in 2017. “These are very important steps in bilateral relations that have given better opportunities for businessmen and tourists to visit Belarus and Qatar helping them know more about the culture and traditions of the two countries,” the diplomat said. The Belarus embassy charge d'affaires Denis expects a boost in bilateral trade. Belarus exports milk whey, dry milk, ready-made seafood products, luggage scanning equipment, potash fertilisers, wood products for construction and other items while Qatar exports ethylene polymers for several millions of dollars annually. Belarus also produces agricultural tractors, trucks for cargo, dump trucks, a wide range of agricultural products, construction materials and chemical products. “We are also the leader in our region in the IT industry. All these give good opportunities for more active development of Belarus-Qatari trade,” he said. At present Qatari investments in Belarus is about $200mn. “In 2015, Qatar opened Marriott Hotel and a sports complex in Minsk. This is one of the best hotels in Belarus capital. We believe that this will pave the way for new Qatari investments in Belarus and our government is ready to support Qatari investors,” he said adding that trade and investment will be priority topics for discussion during the fourth Belarus-Qatar Inter Governmental Committee meeting that will be attended by ministerial delegations. The envoy also expects that the number of Belarus expatriates in Qatar will go up. “Most of the less than 1,000 Belarusian expatriates work in Qatar Airways and the hospitality sector while some of them are engineers. We assess that in future this number will grow, especially with the new Qatari labour legislation which gives more protection for expatriate employees.” While thanking Qatar for its help, Kovalev said Belarus received medical cargo in support to fight Covid-19. “Our country highly appreciates this step and considers this as a true confirmation of friendship and solidarity,” he added.  

Gulf Times
Qatar
Traffic sign vandals face steep fines: official

* Awareness campaigns yielding results with number of road accidents and fatalities going down in Qatar   Damaging or altering traffic signs can lead to the imposition of steep fines on offenders, it was stressed at a virtual seminar on the country's traffic law Sunday. “Destroying traffic signs or any part of them, shifting them or changing their content, information or direction, damaging them or damaging the road can result in imprisonment of a minimum one month and maximum three years and/or a fine of a minimum QR10,000 and maximum QR50,000,” said Capt Mohamed Abdullah al-Kuwari, officer at the Traffic Awareness Department, General Directorate of Traffic. He was addressing a virtual seminar on Traffic Law No 19/2007 Sunday, organised by the Ministry of Interior (MoI's) Public Relations Department in co-operation with the Traffic Awareness Department at the directorate, as part of a series of awareness programmes. The seminar was attended by representatives of various companies and community leaders. He noted that awareness campaigns were yielding results with the number of road accidents and fatalities going down in Qatar. Accident cases are decreasing despite an increase in the number of vehicles, he added. Capt al-Kuwari, who explained various traffic offences and the fines involved, said no violation would be tolerated and asked motorists to follow the rules and stay alert as most roads are monitored by the directorate through surveillance cameras installed as part of the Talaa project. Accidents have social and psychological impacts and everyone should be careful while driving in order to avert undesirable situations on roads, he said, adding that fines are imposed not to make money but to ensure the safety of all. He also referred to the 'black points' system that was introduced with the aim of preventing accidents and penalising errant drivers. He explained there are provisions in which licences are suspended if the motorist concerned commits serious offences on roads and gets the maximum number of 'black points'. He asked people to abstain from driving non-registered vehicles as well as driving without a valid licence and vehicle registration. Further, Capt al-Kuwari said making changes and altering vehicles without written permission from the authorities is also a violation that results in getting 'black points' and a fine of QR3,000. He urged vehicle owners to inform the authorities if the number plate is damaged and replace it accordingly in order to avoid a fine of QR500. Capt al-Kuwari also gave instructions for driving schools and trainers. He urged drivers to follow the speed limit and properly apply brakes, noting that violations in such cases may cause accidents.    

A total of 835 students from 48 schools participated in the initiative.
Qatar
Tree planting campaign evokes good response

The ‘Qatar Beautification and Our Kids Planting Trees’ campaign within the ‘Plant Million Trees’ initiative is evoking good response with more students and educational institutions joining. As per the latest figures, released by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal), the total number of planted trees has reached 367,166. A total of 835 students from 48 schools participated in the initiative. The campaign launched in September 2019 aims to afforest various areas while continuing until the end of 2021. As per the information from Ashghal, the campaign has so far covered various localities within Doha along with areas under Al Khor and Al Thakhira Municipality. Also, campaigns have been held so far at Al Sheehaniya, Al Rayyan, Al Nasraniyya and Al Wakra. Earlier this month, Qatar Museums chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani joined the event and announced the completion of planting 300,000 trees. The Supervisory Committee of Beautification of Roads and Public Places in Qatar is implementing the Qatar Beautification and Our Kids Planting Trees campaign. The committee works under the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME), in co-ordination with several ministries and other entities such as the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Culture and Sports, Qatar Museums Authority, Qatar Rail, Private Engineering Office among others. The committee is responsible for five major tasks including the construction of central public parks, provision of dedicated lanes for pedestrians and bicycles, development of the Doha Corniche and Central Doha and increasing afforestation and green areas. The committee’s work will enhance sustainability through minimising environmental pollution and reducing the emission of CO2 through reduced consumption of energy resources. It also focuses on the provision of more public transport options aiming at reduced use of private cars and improving lifestyle through clean and safe transportation. It is also intended to ensure a healthy environment within residential neighbourhoods and places of public gatherings through increased afforestation and landscaping, which will greatly help in reducing the temperature in cities.

The under-construction Al Rayyan Bus Depot.rnrn
Qatar
Public transport sector set for major makeover

The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) is set to provide a major facelift to Qatar’s public transport sector with its Buildings Projects Department working to set up bus depots and stops in various areas. In co-ordination with the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC), the department is working on eight main bus stations in West Bay, Msheireb, Industrial Area, Al Soudan, Al Gharafa, Education City, Al Wakra and Lusail while four major bus depots are in the making at Lusail, Al Rayyan, Industrial Area and Al Wakra. Ashghal has informed that works are under way at these places where the said facilities are being designed in accordance with the highest global safety and environment standards, GSAS. The bus depots and stations have important design and operational considerations with three-star environmental quality for energy saving and environmental conservation. The bus depots at Lusail, Al Rayyan, Industrial Area and Al Wakra extend from 129,000sq m to 190,000sq m in size, while the bus stations have an average capacity of accommodating 25 vehicles. According to the information received from Ashghal, the Al Rayyan bus depot will provide a berth for about 380 buses and completed by the beginning of 2022. The depot here also includes a maintenance workshop and cleaning facility. Also, work at the Education City bus station will be completed by the third quarter of 2021. The depot and station will serve Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium. Also, Ashghal is working on 2,700 bus stops on all major roads to serve thousands of passengers in many areas to use public buses. These bus stops, with air-conditioned cabins, will allow passengers to wait inside in comfort and protect them from direct exposure to sunlight and humidity. Last year, Ashghal signed 11 new contracts worth QR2bn with different Qatari companies for building bus stations and bus depots, as part of the public bus infrastructure programme.

Gulf Times
Qatar
Tarsheed marks achievements in promoting rational use of water and electricity

The Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) through its National Programme for Conservation and Energy Efficiency (Tarsheed) made several achievements in 2020 while working on raising the efficiency of electrical and water appliances and equipment. Tarsheed helped Qatar reduce carbon emission and bring down water and electricity consumption in all sectors. It made efforts to improve the efficiency of electricity and water use with the aim of achieving efficient gas use and financial savings. While taking steps to reduce harmful carbon emissions and to combat climate change, Tarsheed implemented projects to diversify energy sources and encourage electric vehicles and set up solar photovoltaic systems. Kahramaa is set to operate bus stops in Abu Hamour and Kahramaa Park with renewable energy and looking to encourage farmers and the residential sector to adopt solar energy. Also, Kahramaa set up electric vehicle charging stations across the country as part of its efforts to encourage use of renewable energy. The corporation joined hands with Katara and Qatari Diar and Qatar Children's Museum and installed 50,000 water saving faucet heads in government offices and mosques. Also, steps were taken to recycle ablution water in mosques for cleaning and irrigation. In order to bring down electricity consumption, Tarsheed prepared consumer guides for air conditioning devices and fixed specifications for home lighting. It also asked the public to update specifications of taps to minimise water use. Tarsheed initiatives are being implemented in 22 different schools in the country to reduce electricity and water consumption. Tarsheed was launched to spread information and awareness while encouraging initiatives to reduce daily consumption of water and electricity. Also, it helps Qatar residents to make their homes, workplaces and lifestyles become sustainable, efficient and environmental friendly.

Kahramaa marks several achievements in electricity sector in 2020
Qatar
Kahramaa marks several achievements in electricity sector in 2020

The Qatar General Electricity and Water Corp (Kahramaa) marked several achievements in the electricity sector in 2020. According to information received from the corporation, Kahramaa launched 28 electrical stations including 13 stations for the transmission network. These are in addition to 19 underground cable circuits and two antenna lines that are connected to control centres. These centres were set up at a cost of more than QR2.5bn. Kaharmaa strengthened its operations with various projects related to electricity production and distribution with the aim of ensuring the sustainability of its services to be a tributary for growth overcoming the challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic. Kahramaa also launched a project to store electrical energy using batteries. The 11 kv voltage project than connected it to Kahramaa’s Nuaija station. Besides, various stations and transmission lines feeding the metro network were launched while 20 transmission stations were inaugurated. These include the major Al Suwaidi Super Substation, which is the first major substation with a voltage of (132/400) KV at the heart of Doha. The substation serves Al-Sadd, Bin Mahmoud and Fareej Al-Sudan while the electricity requirements of Al Bidda metro station will also be met by the station. The inauguration was attended by Kahramaa officials, engineers, technicians, supervisors and workers. And this came as part of the thirteenth phase of the electricity transmission grids expansion project in the country. The number of the distribution stations reached 856 stations in 2020 in addition to 39 stations that feed 2022 FIFA World Cup stadiums. 8,756 preventive maintenance works were carried out while 725 inspection drives were initiated in 2020. 1,462 medium-voltage electrical equipment was repaired and restored while high-voltage switches were replaced for 186 roofed and outdoor stations. 152 old and suspended transformers were replaced. Preventive maintenance was carried out for 629 indoor and outdoor stations, maintenance of 196km of medium and low voltage overhead lines was carried out. Kahramaa succeeded in reducing the number of main stations whose loads exceeded the design capacity during the summer of 2020 by launching 65 strengthening projects. Kahramaa started installing energy meters in all major stations to record added consumptions and they are being installed in 185 stations with a total of 369m. It launched a new system for monitoring network variables establishing a temporary reserve distribution control center for use in emergency conditions. The number of medium voltage faults went down by 1.4% in 2020. The average response time in emergency cases reached 55 minutes while the average repair times reached 1.40 hours marking a significant improvement. Kahramaa manages the electricity networks according to the latest technology applied globally and focuses on delivering them with high quality to all subscribers.

After the announcement of lifting the blockade was made on Monday night, the authorities opened the border after three years and seven months of blockade. PICTURES: Thajudheen, Jayan Orma
Qatar
Qatar's Abu Samra land border opens

Qatar's land border at Abu Samra was open on Tuesday, a Gulf Times team which visited the location from 11.30am to 4.30pm, found. After the announcement of lifting the blockade was made on Monday night, the authorities opened the border after three years and seven months.  Tight security is in place at Abu Samra, according to Gulf Times Staff Reporter Shafeeq Alingal. It is understood that preparations are underway for the resumption of cross-border traffic, in line with the preventive and preparatory measures against Covid-19. PICTURES: Thajudheen and Jayan Orma.

Kahramaau2019s Water Quality Lab
Qatar
Kahramaa marks remarkable achievements in water security, quality

The Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) achieved in 2020 several remarkable steps towards water security and quality, it was announced yesterday. The water storage capacity reached 2,204mn gallons in 2020 from 1,678mn gallons in 2019 marking an increase of 31%, according to official statistics. Water production went up to 690mn cu m. These happened after Kahramaa implemented a number of strategic projects.  In order to improve the performance of water distribution network, 269km of lines were installed along with tanks while a water tank and a lifting station with a volume of 6.6mn gallons to improve pumping and increase storage capacity were set up in Lusail.  The year 2020 also saw the inauguration of the lifting line at Rawdat Rashid station with an estimated pumping capacity of 62mn gallons per day. Distribution lines of 307km were examined in 2020 while 69km lines were inspected in 2019. Throughout the year, 6,210 complaints were dealt while 336 complaints regarding invisible leaks were addressed and preventive maintenance of 45 water installations carried out. A total of 59 new water harvesting wells were developed and 119 repaired.  When it comes to ensuring water quality, Kahramaa achieved more than 99% for biological conformity, while 95% is recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Samples were collected for water quality analysis from 12,720 points including production stations, reservoirs and the distribution network.  A total of 826 approvals for the specifications of water networks related materials, supplied by the contractors to implement the projects, were given. Inspection was carried in 1,117 sites to ensure they comply with the approved specifications. The number of customers reached 184,229 by 2020-end.

An aerial view of the 5-6 Park at Al Onaiza area.
Qatar
Ashghal's beautification projects add elegance, charm to the city

The Supervisory Committee of the Beautification of Roads and Public Places in Qatar has added several commendable projects to its credit in 2020. According to information provided by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal), these projects include Ras Bu Abboud Beach Development Project (Package 1), development of various parks, construction of bicycle and pedestrian paths and Central Doha Beautification programme. A digitally generated image of a section of Doha Central Development and Beautification Project Another illustration of Doha Central Development and Beautification Projects A visualisation of Ras Bu Abboud Corniche In February, 2020, Ashghal started implementing the first package of Ras Bu Abboud Beach Development project. The beach is to be developed as a leisure and tourist destination. Besides, the road leading to the beach and Ras Bu Abboud stadium will be also developed as part of the project. The Ras Bu Abboud Beach Development project is implemented on an area of 260,000sq m along a 2.2km stretch. It includes the construction of a 2.2km pedestrian and cycle paths. Also the project includes 11,500sq m of landscaping and planting of about 500 trees. In March, Ashghal started work on the new park at Al Daayen which will be a tourist and leisure destination serving the local residents and people from surrounding areas. In an area of 39,000sq m, the park serves residents of Al Daayen and Simaisma areas. The project includes the construction of green open spaces with seating areas and kids play area. A fitness area will be set up along with pedestrian and cycle paths in order to encourage people to practice sports and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The new park at Al Daayen will also have service kiosks that include restaurants, cafes, toilets and security rooms. Visitors can make use of the 50 parking slots provided by Al Daayen Municipality. More are to be added in the future. There will be decorative lighting poles with special dimmed lighting. Ashghal completed the works of 5/6 Park at Al Onaiza area. With distinct features, the park has lots of features, including a large plant maze, distinguished artworks, vast open green spaces and integrated services that make it an excellent leisure and tourism spot. The entrance and exit of the maze are named after coastal cities of Qatar and the final shape of the map appears clearly when viewed from the sky and the nearby hotels. The hill next to the maze is about 5m high and located in the centre of the park. Being higher than its surroundings, the hill gives an overall 360-degree view of the park. Also, the park includes many utilities and service kiosks such as restaurants, cafes, washrooms and prayer areas among others, in addition to providing seating areas and necessary services for visitors. This is in addition to the columns designated for feeding birds, distributed throughout the park. In June, Ashghal started work on the second and third packages of the Doha Central Development and Beautification Projects. They include the development of six main areas between Corniche Street and A-Ring Road. The projects cover seven main streets where infrastructure development, construction of plazas, pedestrian and cycle paths, installing street lighting network, new traffic signals, road signage and pedestrian crossings will be established. In 2020, Ashghal also announced completion of Al Annabi Street development project in the western Doha area in Muaither, covering many residential and commercial facilities. Pedestrian and bicycle paths were constructed along Al Annabi Street to connect the tracks located on Umm Al-Dome Street and Al-Rayyan New Street.

A section of the 5.4km bicycle path on the east side of the new Al Hatim Street in Al Gharrafa Area on Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor.
Qatar
Ashghal opens bicycle path in Al Gharrafa Area

The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has opened a bicycle path on the east side of the new Al Hatim Street in Al Gharrafa Area on Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor. This was informed by Ashghal on its social media platforms. The 5.4km long cycle path has been set up as part of Ashghal’s efforts to provide residents with space to engage in physical activities and encourage a healthy lifestyle. Officials and students who planted trees at the east side of Al Hatim Street, beside the new bicycle path The Supervisory Committee of Beautification of Roads and Public Places in Qatar at Ashghal had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Qatar Cyclists Centre of the Ministry of Culture and Sports for developing fast cycling tracks across the country. Ashghal has developed a 5.8km pedestrian path with the cycle track. As part of the development works, 1,500 trees and 160 shrubs were planted. Besides, 336 lighting poles and 22 cycle parks were set up. An official and two students plant a tree along Al Hatim Street, beside the new bicycle path Last month, Ashghal announced the opening of a 40km long cycling path on the Southern part of Doha Expressway with 2,390 lighting poles, 17 cycling parks, 1,930 trees, 24 tunnels and 17 seats with shades. Ashghal focuses on developing infrastructure that enhances sport culture by implementing a connected and safe network of cycling paths in a bid to change the lifestyle of people through using healthy mobility means and exercise. Ashghal is now working to set up a network of cycling and pedestrian paths of about 2,650km by the year 2022. Ashghal’s Olympic Cycle Track on Al Khor Road has set Guinness World Records for the Longest Continuous Cycling Path with 32.869km (20.4 miles). It can be used for international sports competitions, especially because the Olympic Cycling Track has been designed to allow speeds up to 50km/h. Meanwhile, a group of students planted trees at the east side of Al Hatim Street as part of Qatar Beautification and Our Kids Planting Trees Campaign. The event was held in co-ordination with the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME). While attending the programme, Mubarak Ferish al-Salem, Central Municipal Council's Constituency 15 member thanked Ashghal for implementing and maintaining infrastructure projects. Al-Salem also appreciated the afforestation efforts by the Supervisory Committee of Beautification of Roads and Public Places in Qatar.

Ashghal's Project Affairs director engineer Yousef al-Emadi
Qatar
Ashghal to start building 8 schools by 2021

The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) will start implementing the 'Qatar Schools PPP Development Programme – Package 1' by the beginning of 2021. While talking to Al Rayyan TV, Ashghal's Project Affairs director engineer Yousef al-Emadi said eight school buildings will be constructed over three years. Land plots have already been identified. Of the eight schools, four will be located in north of Doha at Umm Slal and the remaining four in the south of Doha at Wakra/Wukair areas. All schools will be developed simultaneously. While highlighting Ashgal’s contributions in the health sector, engineer al-Emadi said five health centres are currently being developed at Al Khor, Al Sadd, Ain Khaled, Al Wakra and Al Mashaf. They will be handed over to the Ministry of Public Health next year. According to details, given by Ashghal, the South Al Wakra health centre, with an area of 13,000sq m, has 16 clinics and six consulting rooms with a pharmacy, radiology and library rooms. It will have the capacity to accommodate 130 visitors a day for consultation. The health centre in Al Meshaf, with a 23,000sq m area, will house 48 clinics with 23 consulting rooms, dental clinics, a laboratory, radiology and outpatient clinics with a capacity of 600 consultations per day. In Ain Khaled, the HC will have 48 clinics and 25 consulting rooms, eight dental clinics, a laboratory, pharmacy, radiology and outpatient rooms. The building, spread over 27,000sq m, can handle 600 cases per day. The Al Khor health centre will have 60 clinics, 28 consulting rooms and 10 dental clinics along with a laboratory, radiology, pharmacy and emergency facilities. The centre can handle 650 cases a day. In Al Sadd, 1,500 cases can be dealt with on a single day. The centre will have 100 clinics, 22 consulting rooms, eight dental clinics, five ophthalmology clinics, audio test clinics, a recovery centre, isolation rooms, laboratories and radiology, outpatient clinics and a pharmacy, all spread over an area of 29,000sq m. Engineer al-Emadi said Ashghal has remarkably contributed to developing the green spaces and parks in the country by joining hands with the Ministry of Municipality and Environment. He pointed out that main roads were beautified with trees and green spaces. Ashghal, according to him, has made great strides in developing highways and main roads in the country by completing 98% of the main roads, including those serving the FIFA 2022 World Cup stadiums. As much as 828km roads including the first part of the Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor have been completed, he added.

Customs foils attempt to smuggle tobacco products into the country.
Qatar
Customs foil attempt to smuggle tobacco products into Qatar

The Maritime Customs Department at Hamad Port has foiled yet another attempt to smuggle banned tobacco products (tambaku) into Qatar. This was informed by the General Authority of Customs (GAC) on Thursday through a tweet. A total of 4,482kg tambaku was found in 3,586 packs that were concealed inside a consignment of clothes, the tweet explained.    

A road to the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium.rnrn
Qatar
Ashghal local infrastructure drive marks stellar achievements in '20

The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) marked remarkable achievements in 2020 while implementing the local area infrastructure development programme. Several projects were completed and some others launched during the year. In February, Ashghal completed development works of roads leading to Al Rayyan Stadium and the streets surrounding Al Bayt Stadium as part of Qatar's preparations for hosting the FIFA 2022 World Cup. The roads were opened in order to provide smooth traffic in the area and facilitate access to the two stadiums. The two projects play a pivotal role in providing direct links to the stadiums, facilitating access to the bus and car parks around them and connect many important arterial roads such as Al Khor Road and Al Egda Street as well as Dukhan Highway and Celebrations Street. The construction of the main tunnel for the sewage network that will serve eight northern districts with a length of 17.2km were completed this year serving Rawdat Al-Jahaniya, Al-Thamid, Rawdat Iqdim, North Al-Nasiriyah, Bani Hajer, Al-Kharitiyat and Izghawa in addition to Al-Rayyan Stadium and the surrounding area. This provides sanitation connections and improving the quality of life, health and environmental conditions in the relevant areas. Ashghal opened two streets and completed the infrastructure works in Rawdat Aba Al-Heran where two streets were developed along with service roads and four roundabouts to link various local areas. The metro stations also witnessed development works as Ashghal completed works of car and bus stops at Al Qassar, Education City and Al Wakra stations while parking lots of Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium (formerly Al Rayyan venue) were opened. Several roads that serve fuel stations in different regions of the country were also completed while the roads connecting and surrounding the Al Wakrah Central Market were thrown open to the traffic. During 2020, Ashghal started a number of new projects as part of the programme. These include the Roads and Infrastructure Project in the South of Al Mashaf (Package 7) to serve 1,389 plots, and Al Kharaitiyat and Izghawa (Package 2) projects to serve 1,386 plots. Ashghal announced the commencement of the Roads and Infrastructure Project in Al Ebb and Leabaib (Package 4) which is located East of Al Shamal Road at Al Kheesa Interchange and West of Street 245 covering part of Al Ebb and Leabaib Area, South of Al Kheesa Road as well as a part of Jeryan Jenaihat Area to its North. Ashghal also launched the West Semaisma (Package 1) which aims to develop internal streets in the area and improve local traffic safety as well as upgrade infrastructure facilities to respond to residents' needs and urban growth in the future. In July, Ashghal signed nine new contracts for infrastructure projects for citizens' lands at QR 3.6bn to serve 5,111 plots Umm Salal Mohamed, Al Meshaf South, Al Ebb and Leabaib Mebirek, Al-Wajba East and Semaisma South.