The 73rd Independence Day of India was celebrated on Thursday at a ceremony marked by patriotic fervour and attended by a large number of community members at the Indian Cultural Centre (ICC) in Doha. Indian ambassador P Kumaran hoisted the Indian flag on the occasion to the accompaniment of the national anthem, which was followed by a speech and presentation of patriotic songs. The event was attended by a large number of Indian expatriates, including representatives of various social and cultural organisations, community leaders from different Indian states and students from various Indian schools. After the Tricolour was raised, a special function was held at the ICC's Ashoka Hall, which was packed with community members. Independence Day functions were also held at different Indian schools in Qatar. Addressing the gathering at the ICC, ambassador Kumaran greeted the gathering and commemorated the sacrifices and achievements of freedom fighters and soldiers. He hailed their efforts to move the country forward and said India was racing towards becoming a socially and economically developed country. The envoy read out excerpts of the Independence Day speech by Indian President Ram Nath Kovind in Hindi and English. “This is a happy and emotional day for all the children of Mother India, whether living at home or abroad. We remember with gratitude the countless freedom fighters and revolutionaries who struggled, strived and made heroic sacrifices to win us our freedom from colonial rule," the president said in his message. “Earlier this summer, the people of India participated in the 17th general election, the largest democratic exercise in human history. For this, I must congratulate our voters," the message continued. "I am confident that the recent changes made in Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh would be of immense benefit to those regions." The ambassador cut a cake to celebrate the occasion with community members and students. Students from MES Indian School, Birla Public School and Bhavan's Public School and members of various community organisations sang patriotic songs. ICC president A P Manikandan welcomed the gathering. Rajesh Kamble, counsellor at the Indian embassy, Captain Kapil Kaushik, defence attache at the embassy, and Anjan Ganguly, ICC member, were also present.
Awareness sessions and a cultural and arts fete Sunday marked the 'Mega Eid Al Adha Cultural Celebration for Expat Communities' programme by the Ministry of Interior (MoI) at Asian Town and Asian Accommodation City (Labour City) in Doha Industrial Area. Thousands of expatriates from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka attended the programmes, held at the two locations. MoI organised the event in order to reach out to the communities and help the labourers become aware of the rules and regulations in Qatar. First Lieutenant Mubarak Shareeda al-Mutlaq from the Public Relations Department of the MoI said that the programmes are part of efforts by the ministry to enhance the relations between the communities and the government. Artistes regaling the crowd with a popular song "Besides, we are making use of these events to educate them about their duties and rights. They are given tips that ensure them protection in various fields," he explained. Tips were given to employees to ensure protection on roads and inside residential places. Awareness officials from Traffic, Al Fazaa Police, Civil Defence, Community Policing, Search and Follow up, Drugs Enforcement and Human Rights departments led the sessions. Officers from Drugs Enforcement Department explained the measures to ensure protection from drug abuse and the precautions to be taken to bring medicines to Qatar. The workers were advised not to carry drugs that are not allowed in Qatar and get a proper prescription from a doctor for the permitted medicines. Sunday's events were organised in collaboration with Indian Cultural Centre and sponsored by Ibn Ajyan projects, Naaas Group, Safari Mall, Grand Mall, Transind Group and Emco Qatar. MoI has been organising cultural events and awareness programmes for the expatriate communities on various national occasions such as Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha and Qatar National Day since several years.
Qatar witnessed an increase in its labour force in the first three months of 2019 as compared to the last quarter of 2018, statistics show. The number of participants in the labour force went up from 2,093,360 workers in Q4 2018 to 2,150,694 workers in Q1 2019, a rise of 2.73%. This included 85.3% males and 14.7% females. These figures were among the key findings of the Labour Force Sample Survey for Q1 2019, conducted by the Planning and Statistics Authority. The survey is carried by the Planning and Statistics Authority after taking into consideration the recommendations of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). It is aimed at monitoring trends and changes in the labour market. The data also indicated that the economic participation of the population aged 15 years and above stood at 88.2%, accounting for 96% for males and 60.3% for females. In comparison, the labour force participation rate among individuals aged 15 years and above was 88% in Q4 2018, accounting for 96% for males and 58.6% for females. According to the survey, the 25-34 years age group represented the highest rate of economic participation with 94.5%, while the economic dependency rate reached 29.4% for the quarter. The corresponding figures for Q4 2018 were 94.4% and 30%, respectively. Also, the results showed that the economic participation rate of Qataris reached 51.7% of the total Qatari population aged 15 years and above. This was the same in Q4 2018. The data, meanwhile revealed a rise in the number of salaried workers in the said period. The number of salaried workers in the Qatari market increased from 2,088,149 workers in Q4 2018 to 2,144,324 workers in Q1 2019, a rise of around 2.69% accounting for 85.3% males and 14.7% females. The survey also showed that the number of job seekers in Qatar, according to the ILO definition, reached 2,189 people in Q1 2019, accounting for 44.1% were males and 55.9% females. The unemployment rate settled at 0.1% from Q1 2018 to Q1 2019.
The fourth edition of the Local Dates Festival, that opened at Souq Waqif on Tuesday, has brought more than a dozen varieties of the delicious fruit from 85 farms across Qatar in addition to Hassad Food. Organised by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) and Souq Waqif management, the event which runs until August 3 is a part of Qatar’s efforts to promote locally grown products and help local farmers market their produce. Adel al-Yafai, assistant director of the Agricultural Affairs Department at the MME, said Qatar is paying much attention towards promoting production and marketing of local agricultural products including dates. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Gulf Times (@gulftimes) on Jul 23, 2019 at 11:32am PDT “Such efforts will ensure food security and overall development of the agriculture sector and the date palms. Farmers and those interested in date farming are supported through such initiatives,” he explained. The organisers expect a good sale and flow of visitors from across the country. According to al-Yafai, the MME is expecting more than 250 tonnes of dates to be sold at the festival. Last year, the festival attracted about 54,000 visitors and sold 205 tonnes of fresh dates worth QR1.7mn. The varieties on sale at the festival include Al-Khalas, Al-Shishi, Al-Khenaizi, Al-Barhi, Al-Iraqi and Al-Silji, Al-Saqai, Nabt Saif, Al-Lulu and Al-Razizi. These varieties are available at special prices at the festival. Explaining how the MME is taking up efforts to promote the local dates farmers, al-Yafai said QR10mn has been allocated to buy the produce. Another dates festival will be held in October, followed by similar festivals at Katara Cultural Village and Quranic Botanic Garden at Qatar Foundation along with various fairs across Qatar. Hamad al-Shammari, assistant director of the Agricultural Department at the MME, stated that the number of participating farms in the festival has gone up to 85 from last year's 73. "The department and the ministry are keen on addressing the demands of farmers and finding solutions to the technical problems being faced by date palm cultivation sector. Efforts and researches are on to bring out new palm varieties that produce dates throughout the year," he said. The department annually produces 10,000 to 15,000 date palms and distributes 7,000 saplings to Qatar residents. He added that the ministry is looking to double the number of saplings this year and they will be distributed from December with an aim to expand date palm cultivation in the country.
The General Directorate of Traffic has said it will start registering violations against errant pedestrians and impose fines on them from August. Penalties of QR100, QR200 and QR500 await pedestrians, who violate traffic regulations, depending on the seriousness of the offence. This was announced during an educative seminar held at the General Directorate of Traffic headquarters on Sunday on the rights and responsibilities of pedestrians. The event was organised by the directorate, represented by the Traffic Awareness Department in co-operation with the Public Relations Department of the Ministry of Interior (MoI). The seminar was aimed at educating pedestrians on the safe use of roads, in line with the provisions of the Traffic Law pertaining to pedestrians, and as a step towards starting to record violations from next month against those who do not abide by the rules, the MoI said. Col Nasser Darman al-Hajeri, assistant director-general of Traffic, and Lt Col Jaber Mohamed Odeiba, assistant director of the Traffic Awareness Department, attended the seminar. Other officers from the General Directorate of Traffic and representatives of different communities and companies were also present. “There is a need to create a pedestrian traffic culture that conforms to the provisions of the Traffic Law. We have to ensure that pedestrians are using crosswalks or footbridges to cross the road, while motorists are respecting the rights of pedestrians and helping them cross the road safely even in the absence of a traffic signal and on internal roads,” said Lt Col Odeiba. “The General Directorate of Traffic, in partnership with the Public Relations Department, will raise public awareness on the responsibilities of pedestrians and their rights under the Traffic Law. This is the main objective of the Ministry of Interior, before moving early next month to registering violations against their ID numbers in case of a violation,” he noted. Pedestrians have been advised to cross the road only at designated areas, be alert and avoid engaging in other activities while crossing the roads. They have also been encouraged to use the nearest pedestrian crossing such as footbridges. They should cross junctions only when the pedestrian traffic light turns green. Besides, they have been urged to make use of pavements while walking on roads. Lt Zaid Ibrahim al-Marri from the technical office of the General Directorate of Traffic, talked about the legal aspects and violations related to pedestrians, noting that there are three types of penalties. A fine of QR100 will be imposed in case pedestrians are walking along the middle of the carriageway, not using pavements (sidewalks) when these are available or not using the far edge of the carriageway opposite to the driving direction in the absence of pavements. A penalty of QR200 awaits those pedestrians who do not take the required precautions or do not use designated areas to cross a road, according to the directorate. Finally, a fine of QR500 will be imposed in case a pedestrian does not follow traffic signals while crossing the road at an intersection or when the Traffic Police allow vehicles to move. The same penalty will be also levied on pedestrians who break through military parades and processions. Officials said special patrols would be initiated to check for violations by pedestrians. At the same time, cameras will be used to check if motorists are violating traffic rules pertaining to pedestrian safety.
The unrest prevailing in some Muslim countries has not deterred the youth there and, in fact, it has had a positive impact on them, according to Dr Arif Abdeljalil, commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Youth Union Commission. “A trend where the youth are overcoming hardships is becoming increasingly evident in the Muslim world. Conflicts have not prevented them from pursuing their dreams. And they are also active in discharging their duties by ensuring participation and involvement in different strands of life, ranging from administration to social work,” Dr Abdeljalil told Gulf Times recently on the sidelines of the Doha Islamic Youth Forum, where he presented a paper on 'Youth is the real wealth of the nation'. The forum, held at the Qatar National Convention Centre, concluded on Thursday. “Today’s youth are more creative and more committed. The more they face political instability, the more they are motivated. And they tend to take up efforts to make things better through the use of all available resources even if they are limited,” he explained. Dr Abdeljalil, who noted that the younger generation tends to think positively and approach things accordingly, said they are doing their bit to beat negativity. “They are aware of the challenges and remain vigilant against bad tendencies. They are also engaged in maintaining peace and security and ensuring the welfare of all,” he said. For Dr Abdeljalil, the forum was an ideal venue to get motivated and share experiences. “Such initiatives help the youth from various countries get a clear picture of the social and political scenario in the Islamic world. They also help them stay together and plan strategies to ensure comprehensive social and cultural development of the Muslim world. These forums keep them motivated and draw them towards new dreams,” he added.
The graduation ceremony of the first group of the second edition of ‘Tomorrow’s Officers’ programme was held at Police College Thursday. A total of 300 students graduated in the first group after successfully completing various phases of the camp. The graduation ceremony was held in the presence of Major General Dr Abdullah Yousuf al-Mal, advisor to HE the Minister of Interior (MoI) and deputy chairman of Police College Supreme Council. The programme is attended by a total of 2000 students in six various groups and it’s aimed at helping students develop discipline and a new approach towards daily life. Major General Dr Abdullah Yousuf al-Mal, Major Fahad Saeed al-Subaey and other officers attending the graduation ceremony at Police College Students showcasing martial arts during the graduation of the Summer Camp at Police College During the camp, the students attended training sessions, physical exercises, learning and entertainment programmes. The camp was envisioned to help the student community learn values of the country, groom them as ideal citizens and make them aware of their duties to the nation and services being rendered by the Qatari government. Students aged 9-11 were given training in self-defence, archery, martial arts, swimming, horse riding and shooting. Besides, learning sessions that help students acquire behavioural and leadership qualities and educational skills were also part of the camp. Participants were provided with training in acquiring policing and military skills. The graduates, during the ceremony, presented a number of military and sports shows. Authorities have plans to select 50 outstanding students for field shows during the graduation of the Police College. Officials posing for photo with graduates during the ceremony at Police College
Qatar is exerting efforts to draw the youth towards initiatives meant to achieve the goals of sustainable development, in a bid to ensure the active youth participation, a senior official has said. “Qatar is motivating young people to participate in activities meant to implement the Sustainable Development Goals. The country is enhancing the capacities of young people,” Abdul Hadi al-Shawi, director, Technical Office of the Permanent Population Committee in Qatar, told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the ongoing Doha Islamic Youth Forum recently. Al-Shawi, who presented a paper on ‘Strengthening the development capacities of youth in Qatar’ on the second day of the forum, said the youth are a major human resource for development and they are actors in social change and future-building. “Therefore, Qatar is working to expand youth choices to ensure their diverse participation in development,” he said, adding that the population policy of Qatar looks to expand opportunities for young people — both male and female — and ensure their participation in developing the society and public life. “The State of Qatar has paid particular attention to young people, enabling them to work in education, employment, health and other sectors by harnessing a modern and diversified infrastructure, adopting various programmes and providing multiple resources that are aimed at empowering young people in various vital areas,” al-Shawi stressed. Further, the official noted that youth participation in development is one of the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030. “The areas of youth participation in Qatar are diverse, and include multiple opportunities for engagement in civil society, such as individual, group, governmental and voluntary activities,” he added.
Achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires the involvement of youths who have acquired knowledge, leadership skills and innovation and their participation in thinking, planning and strategy-making, an official has asserted. “The SDGs couldn’t be achieved without meeting optimum standards in education and other sectors,” Dr Mohamed Saif al-Kuwari, director, Environmental and Municipal Studies Institute at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the Doha Islamic Youth Forum recently. Dr al-Kuwari, who highlighted the role of youth in achieving sustainable development as a global demand on the second day of the forum, said society needs the contributions of youths on its journey towards attaining the SDGs. “Youths are agents of change and their potential should be tapped for ensuring sustainable development and improving the standard of human life,” he said. “The United Nations has set 17 goals for sustainable development that address aspects of economic, social, environmental, political and human rights development. The goals include eradicating poverty and hunger, achieving food security, providing health and education, combating inequality and preserving the environment. Achieving these goals is not an easy task and it’s possible only through the engagement of young people,” he added. Dr al-Kuwari said the goals could be achieved with the promotion of participation of youths with qualities such as leadership, innovation, thought and criticism. He added that the youth are getting due representation in administration, planning and strategy-making in the Arab and Islamic world. “There is a good opportunity for youth in the Islamic world as they are given befitting consideration in all sectors.”
The newly-launched Driving Training System (DTS) will help the General Directorate of Traffic ensure high-quality training at driving schools as well as transparency in the entire process of learning how to drive and obtaining a licence, a top official has said. The directorate is also set to introduce a grading system for trainers based on the quality of their training, according to Traffic director-general Major-General Mohamed Saad al-Kharji. “The system helps the department monitor driving schools in the country in the training stage along with the theoretical and practical testing phases. “Also, trainers will be graded as per their teaching and the performance of their learners. “This will compel driving schools to improve their standards in terms of training,” he told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the launch of DTS and opening of the Monitoring Centre at the Traffic headquarters in Madinat Khalifa yesterday. He said trainees are free to express their observations about the trainer and submit complaints about the training process through the DTS app. Complaints will be received by the directorate and necessary action will be initiated. Major-General al-Khariji noted that driving school cars will be completely upgraded and the DTS will be enabled in these cars by the end of this year. Trainers and driving schools will be given training in accordance with the new system.
Discussions, deliberations and brainstorming continued on the second day of the Doha Islamic Youth Forum at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha yesterday. The second day focused on the youth’s role in sustainable development, with sessions and workshops revolving around this theme and the participants discussing topics such as the role of youth initiatives in achieving sustainable development, empowering youth in the field of education and training, and sustainable development and youth challenges. The forum is being attended by youth delegates from 56 Islamic countries, including 20 young representatives from Qatar. The forum, which comes within the framework of the ‘Doha OIC Capital 2019’ initiative, is being held through co-operation between the Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Islamic Co-operation Youth Forum, under the supervision and organisation of the Qatar Centre for Cultural and Heritage Events. Marking the formal start to the day’s proceedings, an introductory session on the theme of ‘Youth and wagering on sustainable development’ saw the participants present papers on topics such as youth and sustainable development, strengthening youth development capacities in Qatar, and youth being the true wealth of the nation. The participants underlined the need for helping the youth get trained and educated and called for affirmative steps to mobilise them towards the objectives of sustainable growth and development in the Islamic world. Addressing the session, Dr Mohamed Saif al-Kuwari, director, Environmental and Municipal Studies Institute at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, highlighted the role of youth in achieving sustainable development as a global demand, noting that the United Nations has identified 17 goals for development that cover all aspects of life and that these goals address the global challenges, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace and justice, decent work and economic growth. Al-Kuwari stressed that these goals would only be achieved through the role played by promising young people and the commitment of countries to work towards achieving these goals according to programmes and well-studied plans by 2030. Further, he underlined the importance of the forum and such events in taking advantage of various experiences, contributing to the shaping of future policies with a youth vision. Abdul Hadi al-Shawi, director, Technical Office of the Permanent Population Committee in Qatar, presented a paper titled ‘Strengthening the development capacities of youth in Qatar’, in which he underlined that Qatar works to motivate young people to participate actively in sustainable development as a process that enhances the capacities of young people, expand their choices and enable them to obtain more opportunities in a global system that is based on knowledge-based globalisation. He noted that the state’s attention to young people has emerged through the integration of the youth dimension into the first National Development Strategy (2011-2016) and the second (2018-2022) in many development sectors, and in the Population Policy (2017-2022), stressing that the Population Policy of Qatar aims to expand participation opportunities of the youth of both s genders in the society and in public life. Qatar is also keen on empowering the youth in the sectors of education, employment, health and other areas of life by harnessing the country’s modern and diverse infrastructure, adopting programmes and providing multiple resources to empower young people in various vital fields. On future trends to expand Qatari youth participation in development, al-Shawi said a number of achievements have been made in the field of youth empowerment, but the changes in the reality of youth require the formulation of a number of interventions, including the establishment of a central body especially for youth to take over the coordination process of preparing and implementing a national youth development policy. This policy shall include cross-sectoral youth development programmes and the development of a comprehensive and integrated policy framework that ensures roles for the youth in all aspects of social life. On his part, Arif Abdedjalil, commissioner for Peace and Security at the African Youth Union Commission, presented a paper titled “Youth is the real wealth of the nation’, which dealt with the role of young people in various activities and in all fields, especially in areas related to the fight against extremism and violence and maintaining world peace and security. Three workshops were also held on the second day of Doha Islamic Youth Forum, based on the day’s theme. The participants contemplated the scope and possibilities of youngsters’ involvement in ensuring sustainable development. The workshops discussed various issues and challenges being faced by the Islamic world in making youth part of the development process as well as the measures to be taken to tap the potential of young generations in helping the Muslim world reach new heights in education and other sectors. The forum will address the theme of youth and social media on the third day. Workshops will be held on the impact of social media on youth cultural practices, the contribution of social media to social responsibility and youth and the safe use of social media. Amna Mohamed, Khawla Mortadawi and Shiraz Ahmed will present papers in the introductory session. (With inputs from QNA)
Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) recently launched the latest edition of Splash & Dash in an attempt to give people in Qatar a comfortable space to engage in physical activities during the summer. Both adults and children have started thronging to Aspire Dome since the launch of the initiative on July 3, eager to participate in running and swimming activities. The Splash & Dash continues until August 25. Now in its sixth edition, the Splash & Dash gives participants the opportunity to run around the indoor track at Aspire Dome and swim in its Olympic pool on Mondays and Wednesdays every week, from 7pm to 9pm. AZF has a reception desk at the Aspire Dome entrance for those wishing to participate, with fees set at QR25 per day or Q 400 for the full month. Registration is open to people aged six years and up. Splash & Dash swimming According to Abdulla al-Bouanin, member of the organising committee, the initiative enables the public to exercise in a comfortable environment during the summer. “During the summer, people remain inside their houses and are reluctant to try physical activities outdoors due to the heat and humidity. The Splash & Dash offers them an ideal and comfortable place for exercising,” al-Bouanin said, noting that this year's Splash & Dash is already evoking a good response. “AZF is witnessing an increasing number of participants.” Meanwhile, the second edition of the AZF summer camp for children is scheduled to begin today, continuing until July 31. Boys and girls aged 6-13 years can attend the camp four days a week from 8am to 1.30pm. The camp will take place at the Aspire Dome, Ladies Sports Hall and Aspire Park. The camp offers kids a range of fun artistic and cultural activities to enjoy. The camp’s schedule includes a variety of activities, including athletics, gymnastics, aerobics, long jump, tennis, badminton, swimming lessons and training sessions in basketball, handball, taekwondo, football and volleyball. “We are also giving them educational field trips to various destinations across Doha,” added al-Bouanin. During the camp, children will be taken to Al Thuraya Planetarium at Katara - the Cultural Village Foundation, National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) and KidZania. Last year, the summer camp was attended by more than 200 children and was a hit among parents too, as their feedback was instrumental in bringing back a new and improved camp in 2019, according to AZF officials. The summer camp has been organised in partnership with Katara KidZania, NMoQ, the Cage Sport, Planet Medical Centre and STEM Xplorers. “The second episode of summer camp for kids will also mark expected attendence. Parents don’t want their children to attach themselves into their households during summer. In fact, the camp helps them take out their children,” al-Bouanin said. For those who wish to register their kids for the summer camp, all terms and conditions and the registration portal can be found here.
Training sessions, physical exercises, learning and entertainment programmes yesterday marked the formal start of the second edition of summer camp for students by the Police College. Dubbed “Tomorrow’s Officers”, the two-week-long programme is aimed at helping students develop self-discipline as well as a new approach to daily and social life. “The programme is being held as part of efforts made to help the young generation learn the values of the country, groom them as ideal citizens, and make them aware of their duties to the nation and the services provided by the Qatar government,” said Major Fahad Saeed al-Subaey, director of the Training Department at the Police College. A total of 2,000 students, aged 9-11 years and selected from across the country, are taking part in the programme. Divided into different groups, the students are being given training in self-defence, martial arts, swimming, horse racing, and shooting. “The participants follow certain schedules, and they are going through the routines of police and military personnel. “In fact, they have their breakfast the way police officers or military personnel do. “Our officials are available here to teach them and guide them through every phase of training and the facilities here are open to every participant,” he explained. He said sports activities and military training are part of the programme. Camp participants are instructed to wear a special military uniform during the camp. Sports and physical exercises help them gain self-confidence while special training and learning sessions enable the students to acquire behavioural and leadership qualities and educational skills, it was stressed. In addition, the summer camp participants are provided with training in policing and military skills. “Indeed, the programme is helpful. It provides them with a good opportunity to spend their summer holidays in the best way possible. “The sessions here will be helpful for them to grow as ideal citizens with a commitment to the society and country,” al-Subaey said, adding that they have special sessions to make the students familiar with government services. “We hope the sessions will help them be mentally and physically fit.” Some 50 outstanding students from the camp will be selected for field shows during the Police College graduation.
* Offers direct access to Lusail sports complex The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) on Tuesday announced the opening of a new interchange on Al Khor Road as part of the Al Khor Expressway upgrade project. The new interchange is located at Exit 32, 3km to the north of the recently opened interchange at the intersection of Al Khor Road with Al Majd Road. The interchange includes a bridge with two lanes in each direction and serves people using Al Khor Road, Al Shamal Road and Al Majd Road coming from Doha and Al Khor. It provides road users with direct connectivity to several public and sports facilities, and also ensures direct access to the Lusail sports complex, Losail International Circuit, Lusail Shooting Club and Lusail Reserves, Ashghal has said in a statement. Hassan al-Maejeba, Ashghal Highways Department project engineer, said the new interchange has put an efficient travel option in place. “Before its opening, motorists had to use the intersection of Al Khor Road with Al Majd Road and Al Mazrouah Interchange to reach the Lusail sports complex. Now they can use the bridge to directly to reach the destination,” he said. Hassan al-Maejeba, Ashghal Highways Department project engineer Khalid al-Rumaihi, general manager of Losail Circuit Sports Club, said the newly built interchange allows easy access to the Losail Circuit and serves athletes and fans who attend the events held in the sports complex. “It also delivers a safe and easy connection for motorists coming from Doha and Al Khor,” he added. Khalid al-Rumaihi, general manager of Losail Circuit Sports Club The 33km-long main carriageway of Al Khor Road was opened in last April, a year ahead of schedule. The old road was developed into an expressway extending from Al Khor city to Qatar University Street in Doha. The old road, which had two lanes in each direction, was upgraded to five lanes in each direction. Besides, two emergency lanes were also set up. This expansion has resulted in increasing the vehicular capacity to accommodate approximately 10,000 vehicles per hour instead of 4,000 in each direction, the statement notes. Besides, it has enhanced road safety. Ashghal has also opened three vital interchanges: Simaisma Interchange, the interchange on Al Majd Road and the interchange on Al Turfa Street as part of the Al Khor Road project. The Al Khor Road main carriageway serves as an alternative to Al Shamal Road as it helps road users coming from Al Khor save travel time by up to 65% compared to the journey via Al Shamal Road. The road is strategically linked to major expressways such as Al Majd Road. Besides, it directly serves more than 20 residential areas alongside its carriageway in addition to a number of economic, commercial and public amenities in the surrounding areas. The road is expected to become the centre of development and encourage the population of Doha "to move outside the city and reconstruct the eastern areas of Qatar". The project will help draw new investments to the area in fields such as business and agriculture. Al Khor Road is a major link to a number of 2022 FIFA World Cup stadiums as it ensures a direct connection to Lusail and Al Bayt stadiums and facilitates access to Al Rayyan and Education City stadiums. In addition to this, the new road facilitates access to Simaisma and Al Khor Youth Centres, Al Khor Sports Club, Lusail sports complex and Doha Golf Club. The road also ensures enhanced traffic flow to a number of recreational and tourist destinations such as Katara, Simaisma Beach, Al Farkiya Beach and Al Daayen Celebration Hall Complex as well as some of the most prestigious educational institutions in Qatar such as Qatar University, Community College of Qatar, Qatar Leadership Academy, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies and College of the North Atlantic-Qatar. "Ashghal is actively working on completing the remaining parts of the project. These include construction of 34km-long Olympic cycle track on one side of the carriageway and 33km-long shared paths for pedestrians and cyclists on the other side as well as the construction of 42 pedestrian and cycle underpasses," the statement adds.
The Qualification of Small-Scale Contractors Initiative by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) is turning out to be an ideal way to ensure material availability while it has helped local companies get the best environment to grow in Qatar. Better known as Ta’heel, the initiative has helped Ashghal to make use of products by Qatari and Turkish companies for various works. It has enabled these companies become part of development projects including building construction, grading works, road pavement, drainage facility, construction of pedestrian lanes and works to enhance traffic safety. According to the latest figures with Ashghal, Ta’heel initiative certified products by 107 manufacturers while a total of 152 contractors were qualified. The initiative also helped 16 Turkish companies become part of development projects by Ashghal. Ashghal and Qatar Development Bank (QDB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on July, 25, 2017, to activate Ta’heel. The initiative was launched as part of the second edition of QDB’s forum Buy National Product that was aimed to encourage Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to expand their local business in different industry sectors. The qualified products include fire fighting equipment, pipes and accessories, ready mix concrete, air handling units, aluminium profiles, autoclaved aerated concrete, cable management system, cables and accessories, cement, waterproof membrane and liquid, welding rods, GRP pipes, traffic signs and traffic flow devices. In January 2018, five projects that include Roads Improvement Works (RIW) were announced for small-scale contractors. The projects included works in various areas of Great Doha, Al Rayyan Municipality, Al Shamal, Al Khor and Al Thakhira. In December 2018, Ashghal signed four contracts for road improvement projects at a total value of about QR59mn. Two contracts for drainage projects worth more than QR620mn were also signed. On April 23, 2019, tender of four contracts for road improvement projects at a total value of about QR100mn was announced by Ashghal. The scheme allows these companies to participate in projects even if they have no previous experience in the field. The initiative is also aimed at imparting training to the new contractors and introducing them to the best practices in project implementation. To get qualified, the companies need to complete the registration process through Ashghal’s website and meet certain prescribed requirements in terms of quality. Ashghal has also plans to launch few more projects that will be implemented with the participation of local companies as part of its efforts to ensure the involvement of the private sector and increase investments in the implementation of public sector projects.
The Qualification of Small-Scale Contractors Initiative by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) is turning out to be an ideal way to ensure material availability while it has helped local companies get the best environment to grow in Qatar. Better known as Ta’heel, the initiative has helped Ashghal to make use of products by Qatari and Turkish companies for various works. It has enabled these companies become part of development projects including building construction, grading works, road pavement, drainage facility, construction of pedestrian lanes and works to enhance traffic safety. According to the latest figures with Ashghal, Ta’heel initiative certified products by 107 manufacturers while a total of 152 contractors were qualified. The initiative also helped 16 Turkish companies become part of development projects by Ashghal. Ashghal and Qatar Development Bank (QDB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on July, 25, 2017, to activate Ta’heel. The initiative was launched as part of the second edition of QDB's forum Buy National Product that was aimed to encourage Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to expand their local business in different industry sectors. The qualified products include fire fighting equipment, pipes and accessories, ready mix concrete, air handling units, aluminium profiles, autoclaved aerated concrete, cable management system, cables and accessories, cement, waterproof membrane and liquid, welding rods, GRP pipes, traffic signs and traffic flow devices. In January, 2018, five projects that include Roads Improvement Works (RIW) were announced for small-scale contractors. The projects included works in various areas of Great Doha, Al Rayyan Municipality, Al Shamal, Al Khor and Al Thakhira. In December, 2018, Ashghal signed four contracts for road improvement projects at a total value of about QR59mn. Two contracts for drainage projects worth more than QR620mn were also signed. On April 23, 2019, tender of four contracts for road improvement projects at a total value of about QR100mn was announced by Ashghal. The scheme allows these companies to participate in projects even if they have no previous experience in the field. The initiative is also aimed at imparting training to the new contractors and introducing them to the best practices in project implementation. To get qualified, the companies need to complete the registration process through Ashghal’s website and meet certain prescribed requirements in terms of quality. Ashghal has also plans to launch few more projects that will be implemented with the participation of local companies as part of its efforts to ensure the involvement of the private sector and increase investments in the implementation of public sector projects.
The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has defeated the unjust blockade against Qatar if its track record after June 5, 2017, is taken into account. As per published data, Qatar witnessed a surge in infrastructure development while a slew of innovative projects were launched after the blockade was imposed on the country. While it comes to basic infrastructure development, Ashghal opened several roads including expressways and developed interchanges and the prestigious Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor while development works were initiated and tunnels built on various roads. The roads that were constructed and developed include Doha Expressway, Lusail Expressway, Al Khor Expressway, Al Majd Road, Al Wakrah Main Road, Al Wukair Road, Mesaieed Road, Hamad Port Road and Al Rayyan Road. It’s worth mentioning that construction of Al Khor Road and Orbital Highway that provides a direct link with a number of stadiums such as Al Rayyan Stadium, Al Khor Stadium, Lusail Stadium and other sports facilities was completed ahead of the schedule. Recently, Yousef Abdulrahman al-Emadi, Projects Affairs Director at Ashghal, noted that Ashghal overcame the blockade and it continued to implement proposed projects as per the schedule. “Some of the projects were completed before deadlines,” he said citing example of Al Khor Road that was delivered one year before the deadline. Speaking at Project Qatar 2019, the official stated this was a major achievement and Ashghal is keen to ensure time bound completion of its projects in order to help the country achieve the objectives of Qatar National Vision 2030. To add to this, Ashghal has so far completed more than 90% of the road network connecting 2022 FIFA World Cup facilities. The post-blockade period witnessed development works of Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor with a length of 25km and total works of 37km. The corridor will have the first cable-stayed bridge in Qatar as well as the largest intersection, longest bridge, deepest and longest bi-directional tunnel. Interchanges that were developed included Simaisma, Bani Hajer, Interchange ?, Pearl and Onaiza and Al Khaleej Al Gharbi. While works of Mesaimeer outfall tunnel were started Ashghal opened a two-way tunnel in Qatar on Al Rayyan Road Project along with a new bridge and tunnel on Al Rayyan Road linking Al Furousiya Street with Al Huwar Street. New tunnel at Al Gassar interchange and two tunnels at Pearl Interchange as part of Lusail Expressway were also opened while Ashghal dedicated the underpass beneath F Ring Road and Mesaimeer Road and Al Rayyan interchange flyover for Qatar. Sewage and water treatment In order to help Qatar effectively implement effective waste management and waste water treatment measures, Ashghal has started upgradation of sewage pumping stations at New Salata, Al Mansoura, Al Messila, and Al Rayyan. The project is aimed at increasing the capacity of the pumping stations by 62% to 211% in order to accommodate both current and future sewage flows. Besides, the Public Works Authority launched Al Wakra and Al Wukair Sewage Treatment Plant project that will be implemented through a public-private partnership contract. Ashghal has completed works of western branch of the main trunk sewer in Doha South Sewage Infrastructure Project. Health sector After the blockade was imposed, Ashghal contributed remarkably to the development of Qatar in the health sector. The Public Works Authority signed six new health projects with a total cost of about QR1bn. The projects include health centres at Al Khor, Al Wakrah South, Al Sadd, Al Mashaf, and Ain Khalid to serve around 3,500 visitors per day. Ashghal has signed a contract to build the National Health Laboratories building. Besides, Ashghal completed construction of the new Trauma and Emergency Department at Hamad General Hospital. The new building has a total area of 27,000 sq m while Ashghal reconstructed 3,000 sq m of the previous Emergency Department to cover a total area of 30,000 sq m.
There are plans to open Qatar Visa Centres (QVCs) in two more countries, an official has said. “We have plans to open QVCs in Kenya and Ethiopia,” Major Abdullah Khalifa al-Mohannadi, director of the Visa Support Services (VSS) Department at the General Directorate of Passports, Ministry of Interior, said in an exclusive interview to Gulf Times. This will take the number of countries with QVCs to 10. It was earlier announced that QVCs would be opened in eight countries - Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia and Tunisia. The first QVC was opened in October last year, in Sri Lanka, and since then these centres have come up in four more countries - Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Nepal. The QVCs are set up and operated in co-operation with the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Public Health. “Qatar will have more than 20 QVCs by the end of this year,” Major al-Mohannadi said, adding that efforts are on to open more QVCs at the earliest. The QVCs, Major al-Mohannadi explains, are aimed at simplifying recruitment and work visa procedures for expatriate workers. “An integrated recruitment system, enabled through the QVCs, is helping both employers and employees complete the procedures easily. Besides, the centres ensure the protection of their rights,” he said. The cities where Qatar Visa Centres have been launched are Colombo in Sri Lanka, Dhaka and Sylhet in Bangladesh, Islamabad and Karachi in Pakistan, New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kochi in India, and Kathmandu in Nepal - which was inaugurated on Wednesday. “QVCs ensure transparency in completing the necessary procedures. They have brought in a very systematic wage protection system that prevents all kind of exploitation and illegal practices by intermediaries and brokers. Employees are now able to get electronic contracts, and this ensures job security and protection from any kind of exploitation,” al-Mohannadi noted, adding that the QVCs have put an end to illegal practices by brokers and intermediaries. “The QVCs have brought the relevant procedures under a single-window system, and manpower and recruitment agencies are now obliged to follow this system,” he added. Major al-Mohannadi said five more services will be added to QVCs in addition to the existing ones. Currently, applicants are able to avail of services such as attestation, contract signing, biometric enrolment and medical checkup at QVCs. These services mitigate the wait by employees for the resident permit after once they arrive in Qatar. Also, medical checkup in the home country reduces the risk of serious diseases being carried to Qatar. The QVCs help avoid cases of employees returning to their countries if they are found ineligible and allow employees to start working at the earliest after once they arrive in Qatar. Apart from English and Arabic, QVCs provide applicants with services in local languages. Help is extended to applicants through call centres while free SIM cards are also distributed to successful applicants before they leave for Qatar. “Efforts are on to further simplify the procedures. If our efforts bear fruit, resident permits could be issued within one or two days after the immigrant arrives in Qatar,” the VSS official said. “The QVCs have received a rousing welcome in every country where they have opened," he added.