Thursday, February 02, 2023 | 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.
Clockwise from top left: P N Baburajan, Sanath Kohowilage, Ressie Fos, Adeel Akbar,  Mohamed Rafiuddin, Riyaz Ahmed Bakali
Expats welcome proposal for sons to take up jobs

Expatriate communities in Qatar have welcomed a proposal to allow the sons of residents in Qatar to work in the private sector without changing their family sponsorship. The move was announced recently by the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs. Hailing the proposal, the expatriates said such a reform would benefit families as well as businesspeople and investors in Qatar. This and two other proposals - granting of temporary work visas in some professions for up to six months and reducing the fees for the MoI’s online services by 20% - will be implemented soon, according to officials. “The proposal to allow the sons of expatriates to work in the private sector without changing their family sponsorship has brought much-awaited cheers to all,” P N Baburajan, president of the Indian Community Benevolent Forum, told Gulf Times. Adeel Akbar, general secretary of Pakistan Art Society-Qatar, described the reform as a landmark development. “This is, indeed, great news as both sons and daughters (of residents) can now work in the private sector without changing their family sponsorship. I appreciate the Qatar government for coming up with this excellent initiative and it will certainly benefit Qatar, a nation we all love,” he said. Riyaz Ahmed Bakali, a representative of the Pakistani community in Qatar, said the proposal would help the country get trained and talented workforce. “As the sons of expatriates are born and brought up in Qatar, they are loyal to the country,” he said, adding that the proposal will "provide comfort to parents". Further, he noted, it will help meet various requirements while the sons work or study as they are allowed to live with their parents. Mohamed Rafiuddin from the Bangladeshi community called the proposal a wise decision and said it would help Qatar benefit from adequate human resources with reasonable wages. Ressie Fos, president of Bayanihan ng Manggagawa sa Konstruksyon ng Qatar, a Filipino community organisation, said the proposal has come as a blessing for expatriate families. “The sons of expatriates will be free to search for jobs and work with companies. They can pursue their higher studies without any kind of technical impediments,” he said. Sanath Kohowilage, president of the Sri Lanka Co-ordinating Committee Qatar said the proposal reflected Qatar’s keenness towards considering its expatriate communities. “The new proposal will give parents relief and help children take charge by easily getting jobs,” he said. Baburajan, meanwhile, also praised the proposals regarding temporary work visa for professionals and the reduction in the MoI's online service fees, urging the authorities to spread awareness among all communities about the reforms. “All concerned should benefit from the new reforms. This could be done by raising awareness,” he said, adding that community organisations are ready to join hands with the authorities for this purpose.

Panellists attending a workshop u2018The Nexus Between Counterterrorism and Disinformationu2019.
White supremacy extremism ‘emerging as threat’

The Global Security Forum yesterday raised a concern over ‘white supremacy extremism rearing it’s ugly head’. The forum’s workshop ‘The Nexus Between Counterterrorism and Disinformation’ pointed fingers to the global threat posed by the rise of violent white supremacism. The session was hosted by the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Executive Director’s Global Research Network (GRN). “Transitional rise of the violent white supremacist movement has emerged to be an alarming threat referring to the recent developments in which homicide and violence were carried by the white supremacists,” said Michael Masters, president of the New York based The Soufan Centre.  “White supremacist terrorism has turned out to be one of the major causes of deaths and violence in United States soil. As much as 73% of the extremist violent incidents were carried out by far right-wing violent groups in the US,” he pointed out.  The session was attended by David Scharia, Chief of Branch, Counterterrorism Committee Executive Directive (CTED); Maya Mirchandani, senior fellow, Observer Reserach Foundation assistant professor, Department of Media Studies, Ashoka University; Milo Comerford, senior manager, policy, Institute of Strategic Dialogue; and Bettina Rottweiler, research assistant, Department of Security and Crime Science. The session cited that disinformation feeds extremist and radical groups across the world. “Rapid expansion of social media and disinformation, disseminated by them, facilitate radicalisation and recruitment within such organisations. They make use of the Internet for propaganda, recruitment and financing,” it opined. David Scharia, while addressing the session, said terrorists use disinformation to spread their ideas and fear and added that the challenge is very complex. Maya Mirchandani, who referred to some of the recent untoward happenings in India, said that dissemination of misinformation continues to lead to mass violence and lynching.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) spokesperson Lolwa Rashid al-Khater attending a Fireside Chat at the Global Security Forum. PICTURES: Thajudheen.
Qatar fighting 'politics of axis and polarisation'

Underscoring Qatar’s ongoing endeavours to stay neutral and diplomatic, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) spokesperson Lolwa Rashid al-Khater Tuesday said the country is fighting for the elimination of the politics of axis. “Qatar is waging war against the politics of polarisation and dissemination of disinformation,” al-Khater explained during a Fireside Chat at the ongoing Global Security Forum. While asked about the unjust blockade, al-Khater, who lamented the adamance of some of the siege countries, made it clear that dialogue is still possible. The MoFA spokesperson, while referring to Qatar’s strategic involvement in resolving the political crisis in various countries where unrest prevails, said Qatar stays as a trusted partner for several countries when it comes to brokering peace and restore political stability. “Qatar is a mediator. And it discharges it's duty and does justice to the responsibilities that it’s entrusted while it comes to beating terrorism,” al-Khater said. “We have to look into the issue depending upon several factors,” she said while asked about the continuing unrest in Syria. She reiterated that Qatar ensures equal rights to all and said indicators of gender quality are going up in the country. While delivering her address on ‘Defining the Narrative in an Age of Disinformation’, al-Khater pointed her fingers to the decay of truth and said this happens due to cognitive biases, the rise of social media and other changes to the information environment and political and social polarisation. “Dissemination of disinformation poses a threat as it results in crisis,” she said referring to the act of the blockading countries that continued building on the fabricated statements and ignored the fact that Qatar News Agency was hacked. “Everyone with a smartphone can produce information. And this leads into the dissemination of disinformation,” she said. Calling for efforts to beat disinformation, al-Khater urged politicians to speak the truth and journalists to show the responsibility to spread the truth.

Uschi Schmitz (right) and Giannina Bonnemann at the reception yesterday. PICTURES: Ram Chand
Visiting German athletes hail Qatar’s organisational skills

The German athletes attending the ongoing ANOC World Beach Games have praised Qatar’s organisational skills citing that the country has displayed professionalism by successfully hosting back-to-back international sport events. Uschi Schmitz, Team Germany’s chef de mission and vice president of the German Olympic Sports Confederation, said the games has underscored that Qatar has turned out to be an ideal venue to host international sport events. “We got a rousing welcome here. A good atmosphere has been created by the organisers. Facilities are excellent for athletes and officials,” she said. Uschi Schmitz plans to visit some tourism destinations and heritage sites across Qatar and represent Germany in the upcoming Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) meeting. Giannina Bonnemann, who represented Germany in ski jumping, was also all praise for Qatar saying the team had a good time in Doha. “Qatar is showing amazing organisational skills. We are provided with the best accommodation and transportation facilities. And volunteers are always at our services,” she said. Florian Gruber, another German athlete, said the team is having a good time in Qatar, adding that the venues are ideal in terms of facilities and vibe. Florian has reached the finals of ski surfing. “I have a good chance for the medal even though the competition is tough,” he added.

German ambassador Hans Udo Muzel with German World Beach Games team and officials at the reception yesterday. PICTURE: Ram Chand
Embassy hosts reception for German athletics team

The German embassy in Qatar yesterday hosted a reception for its team taking part in the ongoing ANOC World Beach Games. The Meet and Greet for German Athletics Team event was attended by ambassador Hans-Udo Muzel, German Olympic Sports Confederation vice president and German team’s chef de mission Uschi Schmitz, athletes and officials. Speaking on the occasion, ambassador Muzel said the games has brought to light Qatar’s ability to host international events. “Qatar is standing as an international location for impressive global sports events on its way to the 2022 FIFA World Cup,” he said thanking Qatar for bringing the Beach Games to Doha. German athletes are competing in beach tennis, beach volleyball 4x4, bouldering, karate/kata, swimming/open water, sailing/kite foil racing,skateboarding and water skiing. The 38-member team is expected to return to Germany on Thursday. The ambassador said Germany won two medals and exuded confidence in winning more medals. “We are keeping our fingers crossed for Team Germany and looking forward to witness outstanding athletic achievement,” he said while expressing pride in hosting a reception for the athletes. “The programme is aimed at extending our sportsmen an opportunity to explore the host country and help them understand the relations between the two countries,” he added.

Ashghal president Dr Saad bin Ahmad al-Muhannadi, Qatar University president Dr Hassan al-Derham, QMIC chairman Abdulla Zaid al-Talib, executive director and CEO Dr Adnan Abu-Dayya, along with other officials from the two entities during the agreement signing ceremony. PICTURE: Ram Chand.
Ashghal, QMIC join hands to develop smart mobility innovations

In a move that’s aimed at focusing on smart road asset management and developing an innovative solution for the intelligent transport sector, the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) on Sunday signed a strategic agreement with Qatar Mobility Innovations Centre (QMIC). The deal related to smart mobility innovations was signed in the presence of Ashghal president Dr Saad bin Ahmad al-Muhannadi, QMIC chairman Abdulla Zaid al-Talib, executive director and CEO Dr Adnan Abu-Dayya, Qatar University president Dr Hassan al-Derham, along with other officials from the two entities. QMIC, through the strategic agreement, will ensure efficient mobility and road safety in Qatar. QMIC will work with Ashghal to provide technical consulting, data analytics, and smart mobility innovations in four domains; Integrated Traffic and Road Asset Monitoring, Connected Vehicles (V2X) Field Pilot and Deployment Plan, Smart Highway Testbed for New Innovative Technologies and Wain Mobile Platform and Enablers. The Integrated Traffic and Road Asset Monitoring will support Ashghal’s ongoing efforts for road assets management by providing visibility through traffic data, crowd analytics and needed information. QMIC’s rich traffic data bank and innovative algorithms and mobility analytics tools will provide an efficient overview of the performance of the road network and the positive effect of Ashghal’s achievements in this regard. Through Connected Vehicles (V2X) Field Pilot and Deployment Plan, QMIC will aid Ashghal in enabling Qatar’s road infrastructure with V2X technologies and applications to get ready for hosting the next generation of intelligent transport systems and road safety. This also includes carrying out a large-scale pilot of V2X system and applications to better understand the performance and assess the value for different use cases. Furthermore, it will be a landmark achievement for Qatar as the first country to regionally implement this emerging technology that will significantly improve road safety and enable autonomous vehicles. Smart Highway Testbed for New Innovative Technologies will provide Ashghal with a designated corridor in Doha to act as a living testbed for piloting and showcasing emerging ITS and mobility solutions and applications. This provides Ashghal with great insight into observing the pros and cons of each emerging technology in a real-life setting before nationwide implementation and will contribute to better predict the benefits and impacts. Through Wain Mobile Platform and Enablers, QMIC will work with Ashghal to take Wain mobile digital platform to the next phase via introducing new features and enhancing the current capabilities. The Wain platform will increasingly become the main mobile channel for communicating with the public about road conditions and location-based services. Speaking on the occasion, al-Muhannadi said the agreement was signed after several rounds of discussions to identify specific Ashghal projects and strategies that can benefit from QMIC’s broad portfolio of smart solutions and data intelligence. The president added that Ashghal had been keen to co-operate with QMIC in order to encourage the local manufacturers. QMIC, which functions at the Qatar Science and Technology Park, strengthens collaboration with national partners and decision-makers to create an innovative environment that particularly focuses on the local Qatar market. Al-Derham said Qatar University is glad to co-operate with QMIC for developing an advanced innovative solution for the intelligent transport sector as part of the university’s role in supporting the knowledge economy and human development. “The university is obliged to tap local potentials in order to achieve a smart economy through the implementation of many initiatives that will enhance its collaboration with Ashghal. The university will support them for implementing world-class infrastructure projects,” he added. Dr Adnan Abu-Dayya said that QMIC is glad to partner with Ashghal to fully utilise its expertise in smart cities and intelligent mobility. “This partnership is an important milestone in QMIC’s strategy of using local innovations to support mega projects and create local technology industry in support of Qatar’ strategy. It also demonstrates the progress made in Qatar in transitioning local knowledge and innovations into market value and impact,” he noted.

Indian Navy officers on-board INS Mysore at Hamad Port on Thursday. PICTURES: Shemeer Rasheedrnrn
Visiting INS Mysore highlights close ties between Qatar, India

The arrival of Indian Naval Ship (INS) Mysore at Hamad Port is a significant boost to the ongoing Qatar-India Year of Culture and the bilateral relations between the two countries. The warship, a destroyer, dropped anchor at the port on Wednesday. “The ties between the two countries are strengthened further. The ship’s arrival speaks volumes about the fact,” defence attache Captain Kapil Kaushik told 'Gulf Times' during a visit to the ship on Thursday. The Indian Navy officer thanked Qatar for its keenness towards strengthening the relationship with India noting the country was visited by top Qatari officials during the past few years. He also thanked the Indian ambassador P Kumaran, citing he is keen to encourage co-operation between the two countries in various sectors including defence. INS Mysore (D60) is the second ship of the Delhi-class guided missile destroyers. The ship, completely built in India, was commissioned into the Indian Navy on June 2, 1999. With advanced radars and sensors, the ship is equipped with latest cutting-edge technology in facing emergency situations, threats from the sea, undersea and air. Captain Prakash Gopalan said the ship is deployed in the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman as part of India’s efforts to ensure safe passing of merchant ships in the sea. “Maritime sector contributes much to the growing economy of the country and we are obliged to pay much attention towards safeguarding the sea transportation,” he said noting that Indian Navy’s intervention has effectively resulted in the elimination of piracy in the Arabian Sea. The captain who visited some Qatari officials said India is sharing a good friendship with Qatar. The ship is expected to leave the port and go back to India today. “Indian Navy is growing and it’s obliged to serve the country and others by helping them meet maritime challenges. Indian Navy has so far added several achievements to its credit by discharging its duty and serving merchant ships in the sea very well,” said Kulvinder Singh Bali, who serves the ship as assistant commander. He added Indian Navy is maintaining a continuous presence in the region and the number of ships increased as per the needs. A 305-member crew, including 48 officers, is with the ship and some of the officials paid visits to the cultural sites and tourist places in Qatar. Captain Gopalan who visited cultural destinations in Qatar, hailed the country’s efforts in integrating heritage with modernity. “Qatar is a successful example of keeping the balance between heritage and modernity.”

Spectators undergoing security checks at Khalifa Stadium.
MoI wins hearts by securing IAAF 2019

With the successful conclusion of the IAAF World Athletic Championships, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) is upbeat. The ministry ensured security and safety for athletes, officials and spectators and smooth traffic flow during the 10-day mega event both inside and outside Khalifa International Stadium. The MoI had put in place strong and advanced security and traffic plans ahead of the prestigious event, a first for the Middle East. Security operations were closely monitored through the control room while control of the stadium was linked to the main operating room of the National Command Centre (NCC) that communicated with all security units at the site of the event. The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) Security Committee deputy chairman Brig Gen Abdulaziz bin Faisal al-Thani observed that advanced security techniques and team spirit helped the committee achieve its goal. Surveillance cameras, security robot, remote-guided aircraft (drone) and multiple task vehicles were used for security operations. Besides, the operating rooms were equipped with advanced equipment and other technical devices and, according to the official, the Security Committee showed high efficiency in carrying out its tasks and providing safety for all participants. A multi-stage entry system was in place. The first stage included seven security tents adjacent to the entrance gates. The tents were opened for spectators two hours before the competitions started. The second stage was the security inspection at the entrance where spectators were allowed inside through 28 gates. The final stage was inside the stadium where volunteers checked the tickets and ensured spectators got the right seats in a bid to ensure competitions are watched without interruption. Security officials and volunteers, during the inspection, prevented the spectators from taking any prohibited material inside the stadium. The prohibited items included fireworks material, glass bottles, small strollers, in addition to sharp tools, pets and other solid objects. A list was on display at the security checking tents. Security Systems Department’s Lt Col Jassem al-Sayed and Khalifa International Stadium’s director of security Captain Burhan Saleh al-Turki also praised the collective efforts by security personnel both inside and outside the venue. He recalled that security personnel were deployed at the venue ahead of the inaugural day and they could ensure a flawless conduct of the event by ensuring spectators were properly seated. Apart from Khalifa International Stadium, special attention was paid towards the Corniche area where marathon and walking competitions were held, in addition to the training area at Qatar Sports Club. Accommodation venues of athletes, officials, delegates, the media centre and the fans area were also under security. Captain al-Turki, who praised the co-ordination between the traffic patrols and patrols Fazaa and Lekhwiya force, explained that traffic patrols were in place since the opening day of the event in order to maintain the smooth flow of traffic in all places that hosted competitions of the championship. Besides, special patrols were deployed on the important streets and the roads leading to the stadium and the Corniche. The women police at MoI and the Lekhwiya played a crucial role in ensuring safety during the Championships. Policewomen trained by MoI in co-ordination with the Police Training Institute were deployed at the site.

Maj Gen Mohamed Ahmed al-Ateeq, Mohamed Hassan al-Obaidli and Lt Col Ahmed Abdullah al-Harami at the press conference in Doha
Sons of expatriates will soon be allowed to work under family sponsorship

*Qatar announces 3 reforms in work and residency laws *Temporary work visas for up to six months to be issued *20% reduction in fees when MoI's services availed online Sons of expatriates in Qatar would soon be able to work in the private sector without changing their family sponsorship, according to a new proposal announced by the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA). Two more proposals - granting of temporary work visas in some professions for up to six months and reducing the fees for MoI's online services by 20% - were also announced at a press conference held at the Officers Club of the General Directorate of Civil Defence Wednesday. These measures, which pertain to work and residency permits and the country's labour market, will be implemented soon. The press conference was addressed by Maj Gen Mohamed Ahmed al-Ateeq, Director-General of Passports; Mohamed Hassan al-Obaidli, Assistant Undersecretary for Labour Affairs at the MADLSA; and Lt Col Ahmed Abdullah al-Harami, Assistant Director of the MoI's Legal Affairs Department. Maj Gen al-Ateeq said the first measure was based on Qatar's intentions regarding the utilisation of the work capacities of the sons of expatriate residents in the country. He noted that several proposals were studied in co-ordination with the relevant authorities on how to use the work capacities of the sons of residents in various fields of work in the private sector without being obliged to transfer their sponsorship to those bodies. Accordingly, it was decided to take legislative measures to implement the proposal in view of its advantages. The official said work was under way to develop a legislative tool for this proposal through an amendment of Article 17 of Law No. 21 of 2015. The amendment will allow all members of expatriate families to work with any employer in the private sector without changing their sponsorship, Maj Gen al-Ateeq explained. Currently, only the daughters of expatriates are allowed to work with any employer while being under the sponsorship of their family. On the introduction of a new temporary work visa in some professions and jobs, the official said this visa will be granted to private companies, commercial establishments and other licensed work entities in the State to allow them to undertake emergency, temporary or seasonal work that requires the workforce for a specific period, season or occasion. Meanwhile, the proposal to reduce the fees for services rendered and completed electronically comes within the framework of the MoI’s policy of facilitating procedures and offering services to beneficiaries in the best way possible, he stressed. "The MoI is looking to achieve its goal of becoming paperless by developing electronic systems and high-quality automated programmes. The e-government system, MoI website and Metrash2 help people complete applications faster and accurately with minimum effort,” he said, adding that the 20% fee reduction is aimed at drawing applicants to avail of the ministry's services without visiting the government services centres. On his part, al-Obaidly said the proposal to allow the sons of expatriates to work in the private sector without changing their sponsorship has a number of advantages that will positively reflect on the labour market and all sections of the Qatari society, including both citizens and residents, by utilising this untapped workforce. This will also help achieve the Qatar National Vision 2030 goals and realise the country's development strategies. He said these benefits include recruitment of the surplus workforce in the labour market, reducing the cost of recruitment and housing expenses for the employer, benefiting from the familiarity of such individuals with the customs and traditions of the Qatari society and the possibility of utilising their qualifications and competencies to work temporarily or permanently under internal employment contracts in private companies. Among the conditions for allowing family members to work in accordance with the current proposal is a written approval by the head of the family and obtaining a work permit from the competent authority at the MADLSA after paying the required fees, he explained. With regard to the issuance of temporary work visas to accommodate the needs of the labour market in some professions and temporary jobs and facilitate and diversify the recruitment process for employers and companies, the MADLSA official said the proposal was studied with a view to creating a suitable environment for domestic and foreign investment. There was also co-ordination between the authorities concerned at the MoI, MADLSA and the relevant authorities, upon which it was agreed to put in place guidelines, conditions and requirements for this visa and determine the duration and fees. Al-Obaidli said the issuance of the proposed visa will only be considered by the competent authorities when the relevant department at the MADLSA confirms the existence of a (temporary) employment contract between the worker and the employer in accordance with what is needed in such cases, and in line with the provisions of Labour Law No. 14 of 2004 and its amendments and resolutions implementing it. He said the contract will be reviewed and approved in a manner that does not contravene an offer of work submitted to the worker, as well as passing the necessary medical examination through the Qatar Visa Centres located abroad. In case such centres do not exist in the country of the worker, such a person is required to carry out these procedures immediately upon entering Qatar in the same way as other categories of expatriate workers do in accordance with the applicable procedures. Meanwhile, Lt Col al-Harami asserted that these proposals have been studied and completed and work is under way to develop a legal tool and legislative procedures to finalise it and then complete the procedures for their application. (With inputs from QNA)

Work underway at Umm Lekhba Interchange. PICTURES: Shemeer Rasheed
Work on Qatar's largest interchange 72% complete

*Umm Lekhba Interchange can accommodate over 20,000 vehicles an hour The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) said it has completed 72% of the development works on Umm Lekhba Interchange, known as the Landmark intersection, taking a big step in accomplishing the prestigious Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor. During a recent site visit, Ashghal project engineer Ali Ibrahim told Gulf Times that parts of the "largest interchange in the country" are scheduled to be opened by the end of 2019, followed by other openings until the end of 2020. With nine bridges and four levels, the 11km-long interchange is the "largest of its kind in Qatar" and will ensure free-flowing traffic in all directions. Out of the nine, five bridges consist of two lanes in one direction while the others have one lane in one direction. Some of the bridges are about 28m high and equivalent to a nine-storey building. A general view. Supplied picture A view of the works. Supplied picture A view of the under-construction interchange Ashghal’s project engineer Ali Ibrahim during a presentation Ibrahim said the interchange is the second highest in the country after the one at Umm Bishr on G-Ring Road. It is located at a height of 35m, while the highest bridge reaches 36m. The interchange can accommodate more than 20,000 vehicles per hour. The interchange features a sophisticated intelligent transport system wherein surveillance cameras, a vehicle number monitor, vehicle classification and emergency traffic system will be installed. The Umm Lekhba Interchange is considered to be the northern gateway of Doha and a 'distribution station' due to its strategic location. It is situated at an important spot where Al Shamal Road intersects with the Doha Expressway, Al Markhiya Street and Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor. The place witnesses heavy traffic to and from Doha via Al Shamal. The place is densely populated and serves as a commercial hub that also has government entities, educational and health facilities. Once completed in the fourth quarter of 2020, the new interchange will significantly improve traffic to shorten the travel time by more than 70% by ensuring the free flow of vehicles. The bridges provide nine arteries that provide free traffic flow in nine directions, in addition to free traffic on Al Shamal Road as well as the underpass of the old interchange linking Al Markhiya Street and Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor. The interchange will ease congestion on Doha Expressway, especially at the Al Gharrafa and Al Duhail intersections. Congestion-free travel will be ensured for vehicles coming from the Doha Corniche, Markhiya, Madinat Khalifa and Duhail in the direction of Al Shamal Road, Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor, Al Gharrafa and Gharrafat Al Rayyan areas to Al Luqta and Al Rayyan. The new junction there consists of an underpass extending 700m between Al Markhiya Street and Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor. The ground level consists of two loop bridges to Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor (bridge adjacent to Landmark Mall and another adjacent to Ezdan Mall to ease traffic pressure there). The ground level also includes four bridges that provide free traffic flow and connects Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor to Al Shamal Road. The second level includes three bridges to ensure traffic flow to and from Al Shamal Road and connecting Al Gharrafa to Doha and Al Shamal Road to Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor. The project includes an integrated drinking water network, electricity and treated water lines as well as an integrated rainwater and service water drainage. These are in addition to a sewage and drainage network, various communication networks and fibre optic cables. The construction of Umm Lekhba Interchange encountered many difficulties and challenges, according to Ashghal. The interchange is located in the busiest part of Al Shamal Road and constrained by many factors, including a significant number of large shopping centres. Therefore, work was planned in such a way that helped avoid disruption of traffic and congestion on Al Shamal for road users in Umm Lekhba and Gharrafa as well as commercial and residential areas, the official said. To overcome the complex nature of the project, the 'precast segmental balanced cantilever' method was used. The reduction of space and the complex arrangement of bridges also necessitate the design of some bridges, extending long spans up to 90m in some cases, the longest in Qatar.

Saleh Mohamed al-Abdullah from Qatar with the advanced bike he developed and Shomotta Sayed from Bangladesh is presenting her innovation to treat type 2 diabetes.
Doha Oasis for Innovation ideal venue for youth to showcase skills

The ongoing Doha Oasis for Innovation event has turned out to be an ideal platform for young and budding talents to showcase their innovative skills and manufacturing abilities. The event upholds the motto ‘Nation with its youth’ and is attended by 42 participants from 33 countries. “The event is taking our innovations to a bigger platform by lending an opportunity to present them before experts, students, entrepreneurs and public,” said Saleh Mohamed al-Abdullah, a Qatari mechanical engineer student at the University of Sheffield. He is attending the event at Ali bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena with the advanced bike that he developed during his studies. The high power bike with rechargeable batteries can be operated manually or by an electric motor. The bike, which can reach 70km per hour, is also equipped with an anti-theft system. The event is organised by the Ministry of Culture and Sports in co-operation with the Islamic Co-operation Youth Forum under the supervision of Qatar Cultural and Heritage Events Center in co-operation with the Qatar Scientific Club. Innovations, presented at the event, deal with 22 various sectors. These include information technology, engineering, medicine, water conservation, farming, mathematics, economy and waste management. From around 7,000 applicants, 42 were selected by a panel of experts. “The event helps youngsters grow and it lends an opportunity to further explore,” said Shomotta Sayed, a student from Dhaka University in Bangladesh. She is here to present her innovation to treat type 2 diabetes. “The event helps us share our ideas, meet experts, get training and further explore of our world of knowledge,” she added.

Engineer Mohamed Khalid al-Sharshani, head of the technical section at Tarsheedrnrn
Qatar drive for significant electric car goal by 2022

*The mission is to bring down carbon emission Qatar is looking to bet big on electric vehicles and plans to achieve a significant goal of making 3-5% of the total car population in the country green by 2022. The move is initiated by the General Electricity and Water Corporation's (Kahramaa) as part of its ongoing efforts under the National Programme for Conservation and Energy Efficiency (Tarsheed). The aim is to bring down carbon emission and encourage a culture of environmental-friendly practices in the transportation sector. Engineer Mohamed Khalid al-Sharshani, head of the technical section at Tarsheed told Gulf Times on Monday that all efforts are being taken up to achieve the goal by the deadline. "The mission, planned in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030, will be implemented with the co-operation from various stakeholders including the Ministry of Energy and Industry and the Ministry of Transport and Communication," he explained. Al-Sharshani was speaking on the sidelines of the observance of International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer at Kahramaa Awareness Park. Observing that the culture of e-cars is getting ground in Qatar, he said supportive measures and awareness campaigns will further draw residents towards the concept of environmental-friendly vehicles. “We are planning to set up 400 car charging stations across Qatar by 2022 and they will ensure better convenience of charging for vehicle owners,” he added. As per the plan, charging points will be at shopping malls, residential areas, stadiums, parks and government offices. Kahramaa has so far opened electric charging stations at Qatar Scientific Club, Kahramaa Main Building, Kahramaa Awareness Park Building, Alfardan Towers, St. Regis Hotel and Marsa Malaz Kempinski at The Pearl-Qatar. Two electric charging stations for buses are functioning at the headquarters of Mowasalat. All the charging stations are presently extending their services for free.

HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani inaugurating the Mukaynis Meteorological Centre. The tower at the new Mukaynis Meteorological Centre. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed.
PM inaugurates new high-tech weather centre

*New facility at Mukaynis to provide more accurate information about weather, climate change HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani on Thursday inaugurated a first-of-its-kind high-tech facility to provide more accurate information about weather and climate change at Mukaynis in Al Rayyan Municipality, about 36km from Doha. The opening of the Mukaynis Meteorological Centre, which was attended by HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti, also marked the launching of Q Weather mobile application by Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). A control room will function with a radar tower at the Mukaynis Meteorological Centre that can give proper updates and forecast about rain, wind, thunderstorm and sandstorm. As per the plan, the new centre will function in collaboration with other weather monitoring stations across Qatar and the region. The Mukaynis Meteorological Centre will also ensure the smooth organisation of the FIFA 2022 World Cup by sharing accurate weather updates. Speaking at the ceremony, HE al-Sulaiti said Qatar is committed to modernising other meteorological centres across the country. He thanked His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah for paying great attention towards transport and communication projects in the country. CAA president Abdullah bin Nasser Turki al-Subaey explained to HE the Prime Minister how the Mukaynis Meteorological Centre will help the aviation, agriculture and fishing sectors get accurate weather updates at the right time. Meteorology Department director Abdulla Mohamed al-Mannai said the new centre will conduct accurate analysis and give correct data. The facility will ensure a better quality of early morning and evening updates daily. The Mukaynis Meteorological Centre will cover a radius of 500km, al-Mannai explained during a PowerPoint presentation. Describing the facility as 'a giant leap', he said it will be part of international weather radars and function as part of a global consortium helping various countries get weather updates. “We will look into the possibilities of helping other countries improve the quality of weather monitoring,” he said. “In the initial stage, the centre will function with a control station where three employees work in co-ordination with various departments. The real time updates from the forecast section of the centre will be given to the other departments including air navigation. "The authorities have plans to increase the strength of the employees and add more features to the centre, which will also be developed as an institution for studies, training and research," he added.

UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity Obiora C Okafor at the press conference. PICTURE: Anas Khalid
UN expert lauds Qatar's rights record, beneficence

A United Nations independent expert has lauded Qatar’s continuing efforts to ensure the rights of all and improve human rights standards, while also praising the country for the distinguished role it has played to enhance global solidarity. Obiora C Okafor, UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity, made the observations at a press conference in Doha Tuesday while presenting his preliminary findings at the end of his mission to Qatar. Okafor referred to Qatar's achievements in the health and education sectors, thanking the country for its achievements in human rights, including economic, cultural and social rights. He also highlighted Qatar's positive global contribution to development and humanitarian aid and its support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. He also thanked Qatar, which gave him the opportunity to visit as an official UN envoy and an independent expert in the field of human rights and international solidarity. He noted that Qatar has given a number of international experts and specialists, as well as representatives of different international bodies, the chance to visit the country and hosted conferences across various fields. This confirms the country's prominent role in international solidarity and its significant contributions in this field, he added. Okafor praised the laws that were recently enacted in order to further increase the compatibility of Qatar’s legal framework with international human rights standards. “Over 85% of Qatar’s population and over 92% of its labour force are migrant workers. The government has committed to improvements and the 2018-2022 technical co-operation agreement with the International Labour Organisation is an example of this engagement,” he explained. The official praised the removal of the exit visa requirement for migrant workers and the new minimum wage, calling it a step in the right direction. “Steps are taken to instate a higher and non-discriminatory permanent minimum wage. I was also informed about a Red Crescent-managed shelter for abused workers. Also, representatives of migrant workers now sit in bi-annual forums with the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs. I see this as a significant step in the right direction and as a forum where their voices can be heard. Such initiatives are crucial and must be encouraged, and their frequency increased,” Okafor said. He was all praise for the creation of dispute settlement committees comprising a judge and two labour representatives as well as the launch of workers' committees. These are ways to ensure that workers’ voices are heard, he said, adding that a workers' fund designed to compensate unpaid workers while their claims are processed is in its pilot phase. He also touched on the efforts of Education Above All, Teach a Child, Silatech and other initiatives, which contribute greatly to facilitating the work of the United Nations in the areas of their competence, in addition to the role of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy in the preparation and organisation of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Qatar got a special mention for the support it extended to various countries in the health, education and development sectors, while the Silatech initiative was lauded by Okafor for creating job opportunities across Africa and Asia. Further, Okafor praised His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani’s announcement of Qatar's pledge to provide quality education to 1mn girls worldwide by 2021. “Qatar has created and strengthened the infrastructure needed to promote its international solidarity agenda. Numerous initiatives such as the Qatar Fund for Development and the Generation Amazing programme of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy are good examples of international solidarity in the development field,” he explained, lauding Qatar’s significant investments in education through international organisations such as Unicef. “Efforts to empower youth worldwide, including through Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser’s Silatech initiative, are examples of human rights-based international solidarity,” he said, praising recent efforts by Qatar to introduce human rights education at different levels of the national curriculum. Okafor also lauded Qatar’s continuing efforts to bring down the emission of greenhouse gases and noted that Qatar has invested in the extension of a water desalination plant using technology that will improve its production efficiency while reducing the use of gas in production systems. “Qatar also co-founded the Global Green Growth Institute showing its commitment to the environment. Qatar hosted the 2012 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP18) where state parties agreed to extend the Kyoto Protocol, and has participated in the conference each year. In 2016, Qatar signed the Paris Agreement and the country remains engaged in battling the challenge of climate change through co-operation with international agencies,” he said. Addressing the migration challenge, Okafor appreciated Qatar's positive role in financing migration processes through the United Nations, or directly supporting and assisting countries in conflict in Africa or Asia, as well as enacting the political asylum law. Okafor stressed that Qatar has committed to develop contracts and agreements with the International Labour Organisation to support these commitments, and enacted many laws in line with international human rights standards. He also praised Qatar's role in achieving world peace and its role as a successful mediator for peace and conflict resolution in many countries and regions such as Africa and the Middle East, considering this as Qatar's solidarity with the world, encouraging and thanking Qatar for this role, because peace is very important for the fulfillment of human rights, he added. During the press conference, Okafor made some remarks about some of what had been achieved saying that they would like to see additional improvements, with regard to domestic labour in terms of reducing working hours and granting them weekly leave provided by law, providing opportunities for changing jobs, and calling on companies and employers not to require workers to pay fees, as well as increasing the minimum wage for workers to a better level with more litigation facilities, thanking Qatar for setting up programmes to protect workers' rights. Okafor’s preliminary findings include some recommendations. He said the full and detailed report of the visit with recommendations will be submitted to the government and other stakeholders in June 2020. (With inputs from QNA)

HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti receiving the certificate from Guinness World Records representative Swapnil Dangarikar in the presence of other officials. PICTURE: Noushad Thekkayil
Hamad Port enters Guinness World Records

* Recognised for having the deepest artificial port basin created on land Hamad Port, Qatar’s gateway to world trade, has added another accomplishment to its list of achievements by entering the Guinness World Record for having the deepest artificial port basin created on land. HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti received the Guinness World Records certificate from the organisation’s representative, Swapnil Dangarikar, during a special event held at the ministry Monday. The Guinness certificate, dated September 9, reads: "The deepest artificial port basin created on land measures 17m and was achieved by the Ministry of Transport and Communications (Qatar) at Um Al Houl, Qatar." Addressing the media, HE al-Sulaiti stressed that the certification highlights the significance of the port. “Hamad Port winning such a universal certificate signals the importance and size of the project. Such an achievement is a new addition to a collection of world records the country has set at the Guinness World Records. It also emphasises Qatar’s capability of developing innovative projects in line with the highest global standards,” HE the Minister said. "Hamad Port's continuing achievements place us before a double responsibility towards our society so as to continue our performance according to world standards and our ambitious goals," he added. The Guinness World Records certificate and an infographic highlighting the measurements of the basin HE al-Sulaiti noted that latest technologies have been used - since construction began at Hamad Port - to ensure high levels of work efficiency in line with the best global quality standards. Also, the concerted efforts of both the staff and partners have always been the key to the port’s milestones, he added. “The port has met all the parameters needed for the certification. The Guinness World Records title was given after a team of experts carried out a thorough inspection,” Dangarikar told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the function. Hamad Port's basin is 4km long, 700m wide and 17m deep. Basin construction works needed two and a half years of excavation, during which over 6,900 tonnes of explosives were used to challenge the drafts - with "full commitment to preserving wildlife and marine life" - to extract more than 44.5mn cubic metres of dredged material, which was later used in other construction works of the project, resulting in huge savings, the Ministry of Transport and Communications said in a statement. This new Guinness World Records certificate is an addition to a collection of universal certificates and rankings achieved by Hamad Port. The port won high commendation in the Coastal Dredging Project of the Year category at the inaugural IHS DPC Innovation Awards. The commendation was awarded to Hamad Port for the deployment of unique systems in the construction and excavation of the port basin that was built on land in a rare operation of its kind in international ports. The award also came as recognition for advanced infrastructure that supports eco-friendly port technologies worldwide. Hamad Port was also classified by the Lloyd's List Global Awards 2018 among the top eight international ports in the field of innovation and among the top five ports in terms of operations. The port was commended for deploying constructive initiatives and ideas, as well as its efficient operational processes and overall unique performance. In terms of operational processes, Hamad Port managed to set new records in August this year, celebrating two key milestones; the handling of over 3mn TEUs and 7mn tonnes of general and bulk cargo since the commencement of operation of the facility.

Ahammed Iqbal
Qatar resident donates land to rehabilitate Kerala flood victims

A Qatar-based Indian businessman's benevolent gesture will go a long way in the rehabilitation of the families who have been left homeless by a massive landslide and flash floods that wiped out the Kavalappara village in Malappuram district of Kerala. The natural calamity that struck on the night of August 8 took 48 lives while leaving hundreds with just the clothes they were wearing. Ahammed Iqbal, a native of Kuniyil in the same district, has offered 1.5 acres of land at Karad near Nilambur for rehabilitating those who are living now in temporary relief camps. "I have held talks with the district administration in this regard,” Iqbal told Gulf Times over the phone from Kerala on Thursday. Qatar has been the second home for him during the last 20 years. Iqbal is running Nexus Group, a construction materials firm in the country. Driven by a desire to stand with Kerala during the tough time, the Doha resident approached the district administration last week expressing his willingness to donate the land. On behalf of Iqbal, his friend Mujeebu Rahman has handed over the documents to Malappuram district collector Jafar Malik. Malappuram district collector Jafar Malik and other officials visiting Kavalappara. “The district administration is expected to make use of the land as per the needs. Some organisations and individuals have offered support to build houses for the affected families,” Iqbal explained. "I understand the hardships being faced by those affected by the landslide and I am trying to do my part," said Iqbal who purchased the land a few years ago for agricultural purposes. Crops including tapioca and plantain are currently being grown there. Malappuram collector Malik told Gulf Times over the phone from Kerala that the district administration is chalking out a plan to rehabilitate the flood victims at Kavalappara and various localities in Nilambur. “We have received the documents (from Iqbal) and the officials concerned are looking into the possibilities of making use of the land. Steps for rehabilitation will be taken in consultation with the affected families,” he said. Iqbal's noble gesture was announced by noted magician Gopinath Muthukad at an event organised by the district administration at a relief camp in Nilambur the other day. This year, the deluge directly affected over 200,000 people with 121 deaths reported. A total of 1,318 relief camps were opened across Kerala. At Kavalappara 48 members of 18 households were buried alive following a major landslide. Rescue operations are continuing to recover at least 10 bodies, it is learnt.

Popular south Indian actor Mohanlal speaks after presenting the lifetime achievement award to actress Menaka and her husband, producer Suresh Kumar, as their daughter and Indian National Film Awards best actress winner Keerthy Suresh looks on. PICTURES: Jayan Orma
SIIMA concludes on a high note, Mohanlal 'Most Popular Actor in Middle East'

The star-studded eighth annual Pantaloons South Indian International Movie Awards (SIIMA) concluded at a glittering ceremony at the Lusail Sports Arena Friday on its second night with electrifying performances that included songs and dances.  The second day witnessed celebrations, award distribution and honouring Tamil and Malayalam cinema. The evening started with a prayer in solidarity with the flood affected Kerala followed by a classical dance performance by Nikhila Vimal and few performances by Saniya Iyyapan and Andrea Jeremiah.  Tamil best actor Dhanush Malayalam best critic award winning actor Prithviraj Sukumaran Malayalam best actor Tovino Thomas Tamil best critic award winning actress Trisha Malayalam best director Sathyan Anthikkad Apart from Malayalam superstars Mohanlal and Prithviraj Sukumaran, Tamil superstar Dhanush, National Award winning south Indian actress Keerthy Suresh, young Malayalam actor Tovino Thomas and a number of other actors, singers, directors, writers, music directors, producers and technicians were present.  They included Anirudh Ravichand, Vignesh Shivan, Sathyan Anthikkad, Sanjana Galrani, Radhika Sarathkumar, Menaka, Yogi Babu, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Trisha, Aishwarya Rajesh, Varalaxmi Sarath Kumar, Vijay Yesudas, Radhika Sharath Kumar, Aju Varghese, Roshan Mathew and Sharafudheen.  Indian ambassador P Kumaran and his Sri Lankan counterpart Kithsiri Athulathmudali were among the other dignitaries. A dance performance at the event Mohanlal, who won the Most Popular Actor in Middle East, expressed his gratitude to his supporters and Qatar residents and urged all to stay with the deluge hit Kerala and support it to overcome the hardship. The South Indian superstar received Best Male Debut Actor Award (Malayalam) on behalf of his son Pranav and said he is a proud father. He also presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to actress Menaka and producer Suresh Kumar, who are the parents of actress Keerthy Suresh.  The show which continued late into the night also marked distribution of more than 20 awards. Tovino Thomas won the best actor award in Malayalam. Prithviraj Sukumaran took home the best critic award male in Malayalam and Trisha the female award in Tamil. Dhanush was adjudged the best actor in Tamil for Vada Chennai, which went on to win the best critic film award. A view of the audience  Sathyan Anthikkad and Pandiraj were the best directors in Malayalam and Tamil, respectively, for Njan Prakashan and Kadaikutty Singam. R D Rajesekhar and Gireesh Ganghadharan received best cinematographer awards in Tamil and Malayalam, respectively for Imaika Nodigal and Swathanthryam Ardharathriyil.  The best Tamil film was Pariyerum Perumal directed by Pa Ranjith. The best Malayalam film was Sudani from Nigeria directed by Zakaraiya Mohamed, who also took home the best debut director award in Malayalam. Lyrics writer awards went to Vignesh Siva and Vinayak Sasikumar in Tamil and Malayalam, respectively. Antony Dasan and Vijay Yesudas were selected as the best male playback singers in Tamil and Malayalam, respectively. Dhee and Sithara Krishnan won best female playback singers.  Raiza Wilson and Dinesh Master emerged to be the best debut actors in Tamil along with Saniya Ayyappan and Pranav Mohanlal in Malayalam. Nelson Dilipkumar was the best debut director in Tamil.  Easwary Rao and Prakash Raj were best actors in a supporting role in Tamil while Lena and Roshan Mathew won the same award in Malayalam. Yogi Babu and Aju Varghese won the best comedian awards. Samantha won Style Icon Award while Kathir was elected for overall best performance.  The show was held in collaboration with Qatar National Tourism Council as part of Qatar-India Year of Culture 2019.  The previous editions of SIIMA were held in countries such as Singapore and Malaysia. The other partners were: Ministry of Culture and Sports, Qatar Airways, Teyseer Motors, W Doha, Doha Bank, Al Mana Leasing, Gulf Car, Royal Regis, Talabat, Rayyan Water, and 98.6 Radio Malayalam. SIIMA - Telugu and Kannada  Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Male) Ram Charan for Rangasthalam Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Male – Critics) Telugu: Vijay Devarakonda for Geetha Govindham Award for Best Director Sukumar for Rangasthalam Award for Best Film Telugu Mahanati Award for Most Popular Celebrity On Social Media Vijay Devarakonda Award for Best Actor in a Negative Role Sarath Kumar for Na Peru Surya Na Illu India  Award for Best Comedian Satya for Chalo Award for Best Debutant Actor Telugu (Male) Kalyaan Dhev for Vijetha Award for Best Debutant Actor Telugu(Male) Kalyaan Dhev for Vijetha Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Male) Rajendra Prasad for Mahanati Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Female) Anasuya Bharadwaj for Rangasthalam Award for Best Debutant Actor (Female) Payal Rajput for RX100 Award for Best Music Director Telugu Devi Sri Prasad for Rangasthalam Award for Best Playback Singer (Male) Anurag Kulkarni ( Pilla Raa ) – RX100 Award for Best Playback Singer (Female) M.M.Manasi ( Rangamma Mangamma ) – Rangasthalam Award for Best Lyricist Telugu Chandrabose ( Yentha Sakkagunave ) – Rangasthalam Award for Best Cinematographer Telugu R Rathnavelu for Rangasthalam Award for Best Actor In A Leading Role (Female) Keerthy Suresh for Mahanati Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Female – Critics) Telugu Samantha for Rangasthalam Award for Best Art Director  S.Rama Krishna for Rangasthalam Special Appreciation Award (Jury) for the year 2019 Naga Sudheer Babu Source: Sakshi

Anurag Kulkarni receiving the award for Best Playback Singer Male (Telugu).rnrn
South Indian stars rock Qatar audience at awards event

Glamour and glitter marked the first day of the eighth annual Pantaloons South Indian International Movie Awards (SIIMA) at the Lusail Sports Arena on Thursday, as a galaxy of stars descended on Doha to be a part of the two-day mega show. Thursday saw the celebration of Telugu and Kannada cinema, as awards were given away in various categories and stars enthralled the crowd with some scintillating performances on stage. Among those present on the occasion were superstar Chiranjeevi and a host of other famous personalities from the Telugu and Kannada film industries, including actors, singers, directors, writers, music directors, producers and technicians. Superstar Chiranjeevi with Indian ambassador P Kumaran and others at the SIIMA 2019 ceremony at Lusail Sports Arena on Thursday. PICTURES: Jayan Orma They included Keerthy Suresh, Vijay Deverakonda, Yash, Shriya Saran, Raai Laxmi, Ashish Gandhi, Dhananjaya, Nidhhi Agerwal, Anasuya, Andrea Jeremiah, Sundeep Kishan, Shanvi Srivatsava, Ananya Bhat, Vijay Raghavendra, Sharmila Mandre, Anupama, Malvika Sharma, Hebah Patel, Rajasree Ponnappa, Radhika Sarathkumar and Devi Sri Prasad. Also present was noted trade analyst Taran Adarsh. A number of dignitaries were also in attendance on Thursday, including Indian ambassador P Kumaran. The second and concluding day of the show will focus on Malayalam and Tamil cinema, with superstar Mohanlal scheduled to attend. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Gulf Times (@gulftimes) on Aug 15, 2019 at 1:56pm PDT Artistes from Telugu and Kannada film industries were honoured during Thursday’s event in various categories. These included awards for best actor, actress, director, music director, lyricist, cinematographer, producer, debut actor, debut actress and debut director. According to the organisers, the show is being attended by some 600 artistes over the two days, including 200 leading celebrities. At the time of going to press, awards had been given out for categories such as Best Debut Actor Female (Kannada) - Anupama Gowda for 'Aa Karaala Ratri'; Best Debut Actor Female (Telugu) - Payal Rajput for 'RX 100'; Best Music Director (Telugu) - Devi Sri Prasad for Rangasthalam; Best Playback Singer Female (Kannada) - Ananya Bhat for Hold On from Tagaru; Best Playback Singer Female (Telugu) - M M Manasi for Rangamma Mangamma from Rangasthalam; Best Playback Singer Male (Telugu) - Anurag Kulkarni for Pilla Ra from RX 100; Best Lyrics Writer (Kannada) - Chetan Kumar for Yennammi Yennammi from Ayogya; Best Lyrics Writer (Telugu) - Chandra Bose for Yentha Sakkagunave from Rangasthalam; Best Cinematographer (Kannada) - Bhuvan Gowda for KGF:Chapter 1; and Best Cinematographer (Telugu) - Ratnavelu for Rangasthalam, according to updates posted on the official Facebook page of SIIMA. The event partners are Qatar National Tourism Council, the Ministry of Culture and Sports, Qatar Airways, Teyseer Motors, W Doha, Doha Bank, Al Mana Leasing, Gulf Car, Royal Regis, Talabat, Rayyan Water and 98.6 Radio Malayalam.