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Sunday, February 25, 2024 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
 Shafeeq Alingal
Shafeeq Alingal
Shafeeq Alingal is a Staff Reporter with Gulf Times. He has mainstream media experience of six years. Health, environment and wildlife are among his specialties.
First phase of Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor opens
Qatar
First phase of Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor opens

*13km stretch from Umm Lekhba Interchange to Bu Hamour Bridge launched The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) on Saturday announced the launch of the first phase of the Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor with the 13km stretch from Umm Lekhba Interchange in the north to Bu Hamour Bridge opening up for traffic. The newly-opened part of the highway consists of seven bridges, including Qatar’s first cable-stayed bridge, taking the number of opened bridges on the corridor to 21 out of the total 32, and one tunnel. Three bridges were opened at each of the Umm Lekhba and Al Waab intersections while the tunnel was opened at Al Luqta. The longest bridge is 2.6km long. The cable-stayed bridge, which is now partially open with a length of 1.2km, is the first of its kind in Qatar and provides free-flowing traffic between Al Waab and Bu Hamour. Youssef al-Emadi, Projects Affairs director at Ashghal; Bader Darwish, manager of Ashghal's Highway Project Department; Captain Saoud Abdullah al-Hamad from the General Directorate of Traffic; representatives from the Ministry of Transport and Communication; Central Municipal Council members; and officials and engineers from Ashghal and the contracting company attended the opening ceremony. In a press statement issued by the authority, Dr Saad bin Ahmad al-Muhannadi, Ashghal president, said the opening came despite many challenges including the unjust blockade and the Covid-19 pandemic. He said the opening is a testimonial of the work proceeding without interruption, thanking the country’s support for overcoming all obstacles. Al-Emadi told Gulf Times that the new openings were carried out six months ahead of schedule and they will provide free traffic flow on the corridor and shorten travel time by more than 50%. “The road can now accommodate more than 8,000 vehicles per hour in both directions having a positive effect on traffic on 22 February Street and providing new alternatives for road users,” he said adding that the project is expected to be completed in 2021. Bader Darwish said that the new openings will provide free traffic flow all the way from Umm Lekhba Interchange on Al Shamal Road to Hamad International Airport (HIA) reducing traffic pressure on 22 February Street especially with the start of the new school year. Ali Ibrahim from the Highway Project Department noted that the three new bridges at Umm Lekhba Interchange provide new entrances and exits to Al Gharrafa area. Mohamed Sami from the Highway Projects Department indicated that Al Waab Interchange is witnessing its first opening after converting the traffic light to a three-level intersection where the rest of the vital intersection work is being completed. He said it will be fully opened to traffic this year. Ashghal has opened new sections at Al Waab Interchange, where it opened a 2.6km-long main bridge, as the longest bridge in Qatar that extends from Al Rayyan Tunnel, and passing over the well-known Lekhwya Interchange and Al Waab Street Interchange. A bridge was also opened to connect traffic coming from Rashida Interchange to the main bridge (Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor) with a length of 386m, and the opening of a third bridge linking traffic coming from Al Sadd at Al Waab Interchange with Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor towards Salwa. Three new bridges were opened at Umm Lekhba Interchange bringing the number of bridges that were opened at the largest intersection in the country to five out of nine. The opening includes the link bridge from the north in the direction of Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor and Al Gharrafa to include two lanes in one direction with a length of 1,100m. The bridge opposite to Al Gharrafa and Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor towards Al Shamal was opened to include two lanes in one direction with a length of 1,400m while the bridge linking traffic coming from Doha in the direction of Al Gharrafa and Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor was opened to include one lane in one direction also with a length of 1,000m. The three bridges will ease traffic movement in the area and reduce traffic pressure on 22 February Street, especially on Al Gharrafa Interchange. Al Luqta Tunnel intersects with Khalifa Street and two lanes here link Al Luqta and Al Gharrafa providing an alternative road to the nearby Tilted Intersection. Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor extends for approximately 25km from Hamad International Airport to Umm Lekhba Interchange on Doha Expressway. The total road works of the project are approximately 37km. It will significantly contribute to relieve traffic congestion on Doha Expressway in particular, 22 February Street once completed in 2021. The new corridor will be a vital alternative route that will serve thousands of daily commuters from the north to the south of Doha. Commuters travelling from Hamad International Airport via the new corridor will be able to reach Umm Lekhba Intersection in approximately 18 minutes compared to the current 50 minutes via Doha Expressway and 22 February Street, reducing traffic time by 70%. The corridor will also form the main link between the north and the south of Doha and create a vital connection between Doha Expressway and Southern Part of Doha Express Highway (Al Wakra Bypass) as well as to Mesaieed Road further south through Al Watiyyat Interchange in Al Thumama where its distribution point to Doha Expressway on one side and to Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor on the other side. Once completed, Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor will link the south and north parts of Doha without the need to pass through Doha Expressway and 22 February Street. Works as part of the corridor include upgrading E-Ring, F-Ring, Mesaimeer, Al Bustan, Bu Erayyen and Lebday roads and sections of Al Markhiya Street. In addition, Ashghal will enhance 12km of local and peripheral roads intersecting with the corridor. Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor has the longest bridge as well as the deepest and longest bi-directional tunnel. It serves 25 densely populated residential areas such as Al Thumama, Al Nuaija, Bu Hamour, Al Waab, Al Rayyan, Al Luqta and Al Gharrafa. The corridor provides easy access to some of Doha Metro stations such as the Economic Zone, Al Waab and Al Rayyan Al Qadeem.

Qatar's first cable stayed bridge opened
Qatar
Qatar's first cable stayed bridge opened

The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has opened Qatar's first cable-stayed bridge on Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor. With a length of 1,200m, the cable-stayed bridge on the corridor extends from Mesaimeer Road to Al Bustan Street and crosses over Halul Intersection on Mesaimeer Road and Faleh Bin Nasser Intersection on Salwa Road. And it provides free traffic flow between Hamad International Airport (HIA) and the areas of Bu Hamour, Mesaimeer and Al Waab. With four lanes in each direction, the bridge will accommodate more than 16,000 vehicles an hour. It will ease the congestion in the vital area significantly. The bridge was constructed without pylons for a distance of 150m, but cables instead for support. The construction needed 854 precast reinforced concrete pieces, each weighing 200 tonnes, and 20 pylons and 16 piers to reach the highest point of 30m.

Ashghal opens 13km phase of Sabah Al  Ahmad Corridor
Qatar
Ashghal opens 13km phase of Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor

The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) today announced opening of the first 13km phase of the prestigious Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor from Umm Lekhba Interchange to Bu Hamour Bridge. The opening was carried at a function, held at Bu Hamour. It marked the opening of a total of seven bridges and one tunnel. These included the country's first cable stayed bridge that's part of the corridor. Eng. Yousef al-Emadi, director of Projects Affairs at Ashghal, told Gulf Times that the new openings will ease traffic from Bu Hamour to Land Mark and will serve various facilities and residential areas. He added that traffic will be reduced to 50% on the stretch by providing free flow. Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor extends for approximately 25km from Hamad International Airport to Umm Lekhba Interchange on Doha Expressway. The total road works of the project is approximately 37km.  Once completed, Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor will link the south and north parts of Doha without the need to pass through Doha Expressway and 22 February Street. Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor extends for approximately 25 km from Hamad International Airport to Umm Lekhba Interchange on Doha Expressway. Works as part of the corridor include upgrading E Ring, F Ring, Mesaimeer, Al Bustan, Bu Erayyen and Lebday roads and sections of Al Markhiya Street. In addition, Ashghal will enhance 12 km of local and peripheral roads intersecting with the Corridor. The total road works of the project are approximately 37 km. Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor has the longest bridge, deepest and longest bi-directional tunnel. With a length of 1200 m, the cable stayed bridge on the corridor extends from Mesaimeer Road to Al Bustan Street and crosses over Halul Intersection on Mesaimeer Road and Faleh Bin Nasser Intersection on Salwa Road. The works will be completed in 2021.

Prime Minister inspects Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor Project
Qatar
Prime Minister visits Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor Project

* 75% of work completed, project to bring qualitative addition to road network HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani on Thursday visited the Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor, the first phase of which is set to open soon. After reviewing the work of the prestigious project being implemented by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal), the Prime Minister tweeted: “We have completed 75% of Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor. Today I visited and looked closely at the progress of works,” adding, "it will bring a qualitative addition to the modern road network in Qatar". “We continue relying on local materials and companies for the remaining works of this project and all other projects.” The Prime Minister was briefed about the progress of the project, its advantages, and its integration with the Doha Metro network and the project's landmarks. It has 32 bridges, including the longest bridge in Qatar at 2.6km, the first Cable-Stayed Bridge with a length 1.2km, and nine tunnels, including the longest and deepest two-way tunnel with a length of 2.1km and depth of 25m. The project also provides access to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 stadiums. The Prime Minister was accompanied during the visit by a number of senior officials and engineers from Ashghal and representatives of the implementing companies, the Qatar News Agency reported. Earlier this week Ashghal opened the Al Khufoos Street that links Al Furousiya Street in the west and Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor to the east. A traffic signal at Al Waab Interchange which is also part of Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor was opened last month. In June, Ashghal announced 70% completion of the project and opened a new 900m bridge along Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor in the Bu Hamour area. Once completed, the corridor will link the southern and northern parts of Doha without the need to pass through Doha Expressway and 22 February Street. Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor extends for approximately 25km from Hamad International Airport to Umm Lekhba Interchange on Doha Expressway. Part of the corridor include upgrading E Ring, F Ring, Mesaimeer, Al Bustan, Bu Erayyen and Lebday roads and sections of Al Markhiya Street. In addition, Ashghal will enhance 12km of local and peripheral roads intersecting with the Corridor. The total road works of the project are approximately 37km. The Cable-Stayed Bridge extends from Mesaimeer Road to Al Bustan Street and crosses over Halul Intersection on Mesaimeer Road and Faleh Bin Nasser Intersection on Salwa Road. The works will be completed in 2021. Ashghal has completed more than 87% of the works of the Mesaimeer Interchange that connects the roads of Mesaimeer Interchange, Doha Expressway, southern part of Doha Expressway, Sabah Al Ahmed Corridor, Industrial Area Road and Rawdhat Al Khail Street. The Mesaimeer Interchange integrates with Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor linking Al-Watiyyat Interchange, which is a strategic link between the southern part of Doha Expressway and its main highway.

MoI unveils new uniforms for Qatar police
Qatar
Police force to don new uniforms from Sunday

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has announced that police personnel in the country will start wearing new uniforms from Sunday. The newly-introduced police uniforms are approved "based on HE the Minister of Interior's Decision No. 41 of 2020, issued on July 16, regarding the renewal of police uniforms and specifying the badges of military ranks for officers and other ranks, their types and how to wear them", the MoI explained. The announcement was made during a press conference held at the Police Training Institute on Thursday. It was attended by Brigadier-General Ahmed Jaber al-Hamidi, chairman of the Committee for Renewing Police Uniforms, and Major Fahad Saeed al-Subaie, director of the Training Department at Police College and a member of the committee. The ministry said all its employees, including officers, non-commissioned officers and personnel, will wear the new uniforms according to the specified conditions. It stressed that the renewal of uniforms is being implemented as part of a comprehensive modernisation process aimed at improving police performance. The uniforms suit the nature of work of various MoI departments and also take into account the public acceptance factor. The MoI noted that the new uniforms were designed to give members of the police force an appearance befitting their stature and the nature of tasks assigned to them. The change process also included "choosing a unified 'theme' for the police identity to be affixed to clothes and cars", the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) added in a report. The new uniforms have been designed while taking into consideration a combination of modern and classical styles, in harmony with the Qatari environment and reflecting its Arab legacy. The uniforms are inspired by the Qatari heritage, reflecting the "different civilisations that have succeeded in the country while adding a touch of development witnessed by Qatar", the MoI pointed out. The Qatar police's military uniform manual classifies uniforms based on seven 'dress codes': ceremony, official, duty, field, specialised field, training and special missions. There are different summer and winter uniforms as well. Special uniforms have been designed for Public Transport Security, Airport Security, Traffic Patrol and Stadium Security Department, as well as for female police officers. Brigadier-General al-Hamidi said at the press conference that the committee took a scientific approach in selecting the new uniforms for the police force. He explained, “The committee communicated with many police agencies around the world and the relevant experiences were studied to take the positive aspects and identify the negatives. After multiple meetings with experts, materials that suit the nature of the country's climate and the tasks of each department were selected. "There were many choices regarding materials and these were experimented with on the ground in a number of departments. After positive results, the final set of uniforms was agreed upon and presented to the competent authorities for a decision. Major al-Subaie told journalists that the amendments include updating the MoI logo on all police force uniforms as well as updating all military accessories, comprising separate pieces that are used with the uniform - such as military ranks, insignia, scope and cordon. In a statement to QNA, Brigadier-General al-Hamidi said the choice of police uniforms came as a result of field studies of the movement and mobility mechanism according to the nature of each unit and department at the MoI, such as field uniforms that fit the nature of work at Metro stations, the Coast Guard and airport, and contain the ministry's logo. The unified logo will be registered as a patent for the MoI, distinguishing it from other types of clothing and that only the police may wear it. In the event of travelling on official missions, the uniforms will have the emblem of the State of Qatar. Adherence to the Islamic veil, customs and traditions were taken into account while choosing the uniforms of working women at the Ministry of Interior, he noted. Further, he said there is a unified military uniform for senior ranks, which will be used for ceremonies, accompanying delegations coming to the country and participating in major international forums, adding that the decoration and edges of the new uniform are derived from the traditional Qatari cloak, 'bisht'.

Civil Defence seminar focuses on awareness programmesrnrn
Qatar
Civil Defence seminar focuses on awareness programmes

The importance of communication between the General Directorate of Civil Defence (GDCD) and various establishments for the continuity of awareness programmes that play a vital role in ensuring safety was highlighted at a virtual seminar on Wednesday. Titled ‘Security and Safety Standards of Companies and Establishments’, the event was organised by the GDCD in co-operation with the Ministry of Interior (MoI) Public Relations Department. Representatives of various companies were given safety tips along with directions and updates about various procedures of the General Directorate of Civil Defence. While welcoming the gathering, Maj. Jabber Ali al-Marri, head of Preventive Education Section, noted that the awareness programme was organised after a break of months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Awareness has a crucial role in protecting all, he stressed. Officials from various sections delivered lectures on the security and safety standards in buildings and facilities. They focused on a number of issues, civil defence procedures for obtaining licenses and certificates and inspections that are carried out to ensure that every establishment follows the rules while it comes to preventing and fighting the fire while highlighting the violations. The officials urged the company representatives to strictly follow the rules and ensure the availability of all essential equipment. Awareness tips on protection during the fire outbreak and use of firefighting were also given. Captain engineer Mohamed Ibrahim al-Sulaiti, head of Engineering Plans Section, explained the proceedings for getting approval for buildings. He said that all the Civil Defence guidelines are available on the website of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME). “A committee has been formed to review requirements and update to cope with developments according to the suggestions submitted by designers,” he said. Captain engineer Mishal Muhammed al- Mutawa, head of Inspection and Licensing Section described the functions of the section. He said consulting firms which commit certain violations including failure to comply with pre-approved engineering plans and complete the project before submitting the request for inspection are penalised by the section. Captain engineer Khalid Saadoon al-Kuwari, head of Safety Systems Section, gave an introduction to the section and highlighted the importance of using the Civil Defence approved form of regular maintenance. He noted that some of the companies fail to adhere to the approved periodic maintenance and urged all companies to update their contact details in MoI e-services to ease the communications. First Lt. Abdullah Nasser al- Suwaidi, Officer at Operations Department, explained the measures to prevent fire and the proceedings to be taken while fire breaks out. Captain Abdul Hadi Ali al-Marri, officer at Preventive Education Section, explained the measures to be accepted after the fire outbreak. He also explained the use of various firefighting equipment.

Passengers from a Kannur - Doha chartered flight upon arrival at Hamad International Airport.rnrn
Qatar
Expats returning to Doha on chartered flights from Kerala

Community organisations are chartering flights or arranging seats for Qatar residents stranded in the southern Indian state of Kerala to return to Doha. One flight was chartered by the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) from Kannur International Airport and seats arranged in a flight from Calicut International Airport. The flight from Kozhikode arrived in Doha on August 19 with 80 passengers on board. Chartered by KMCC Koothuparamba Constituency Committee, the second Indigo carrier with 110 passengers landed on Wednesday. "If during the initial weeks of Covid-19 pandemic, many expatriates wanted to go home, now most of them wish to return to Qatar as the situation is better here,” said KMCC Koothuparamba constituency general secretary Kakkatt Azeez. According to Basheer Khan, KMCC Kozhikode district committee president, the seats were arranged following requests by Qatar residents who wanted to resume their jobs. “Some of them got stuck back at home after they went for vacation while others, who left Qatar due to the Covid-19 crisis, also wanted to come back,” he said. KMCC set up special Covid-19 test camps to screen and certify passengers ahead of travelling. The passengers who returned are now quarantined at various hotels in Doha. "More flights can be chartered to Doha if there is a demand," KMCC Kerala state committee secretary Rayees Ali said. KMCC, according to Rayees, had chartered 37 flights from Doha to Kozhikode, Kannur, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram airports over the past several weeks.

Artist's impression of Qatar's first Cable Stayed Bridge on Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor.
Qatar
Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor to witness major opening by month end

The prestigious Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor project, being implemented by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal), will witness a major opening by the end of this month, a senior official told Gulf Times. Engineer Yousef al-Emadi, director of Projects Affairs, explained that work on the project is fast progressing on schedule. In June, Ashghal announced 70% completion of the project and opened a new 900m bridge along Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor in the Bu Hamour area. “Openings will be carried out until the end of this year and several parts will be available for traffic,” he said adding that this year will witness several openings of several projects by Ashghal. Once completed, the corridor will link the south and north parts of Doha without the need to pass through Doha Expressway and 22 February Street. Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor extends for approximately 25km from Hamad International Airport to Umm Lekhba Interchange on Doha Expressway. Works as part of the corridor include upgrading E Ring, F Ring, Mesaimeer, Al Bustan, Bu Erayyen and Lebday roads and sections of Al Markhiya Street. In addition, Ashghal will enhance 12 km of local and peripheral roads intersecting with the Corridor. The total road works of the project are approximately 37km. Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor has the longest bridge, deepest and longest bi-directional tunnel. With a length of 1,200m, Qatar's first cable stayed bridge is on the corridor. The unique structure extends from Mesaimeer Road to Al Bustan Street and crosses over Halul Intersection on Mesaimeer Road and Faleh Bin Nasser Intersection on Salwa Road. The works will be completed in 2021.

Digital renderings of the project.
Qatar
Development and beautification projects to give Doha a facelift

The Doha Central Development and Beautification Projects will provide a further facelift to Doha through a host of infrastructure development and beautification works. The projects, across their three phases, will make the city a ‘destination of choice’ where the needs of its people and visitors will be met and at the same time create memorable experiences by linking people to places and destinations through a convenient, safe and accessible public realm. Besides, Central Doha’s landmarks will serve as points that will help people create their own mental map of the surrounding environment. This will be achieved by providing pedestrian-friendly transportation, including footpaths and crossings, to encourage visitors using various modes of transportation. The projects will promote walking, and enhance the identity of Qatar’s historical and cultural legacy and recognise the natural environment of the country. l First phase  The projects are being implemented by the Supervisory Committee of the Beautification of Roads and Public Places in Qatar at the Public Works Authority (Ashghal). In a statement in June, the authority had said 20% of the works of the first package had been completed. The first phase include infrastructure development works like the development of a foul sewer drainage network, surface water drainage network, a treated effluent network, electricity network and communication network. This phase of the project also includes installing lighting poles, street furniture, traffic signals for vehicles and pedestrians, pedestrian crossings and shared paths for pedestrian and cyclists. The project also aims to reduce traffic volume by promoting pedestrian movement besides increasing tree plantation and landscaping. Abdullah Bin Thani, Al-Dostour, Al-Sakhama, Ras Brouq, Dar Al-Kutub, Bu Hasaya, Al-Ghous and Ras Usheirej streets will be developed in this phase while Abdulla Bin Thani Street will be fully paved with granite slabs and designed to make it possible in the future to close it completely for vehicles during celebrations. l Second phase  Ashghal launched the second phase in June and this phase is aimed at developing the areas surrounding the National Museum of Qatar as well as those opposite to the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA). This will be done by developing and beautifying main streets and internal neighbourhoods in these areas in addition to infrastructure development works. Some 8.5km of surface water drainage network, 4.7km of foul sewer network, 6.8km of electricity network and 22.6km-long pedestrian and cycling paths will be developed while 329 decorative lighting poles will be installed and 1,400 trees planted. Also, 10,000sqm of green areas will be set up. l Third phase  Also launched in June, this phase features the development of 10.2km of a surface water drainage network, 11.2km of foul sewer drainage network, 4.7km of the electricity network, installing 515 decorative lighting poles, planting about 3,250 trees, development of about 30,000sqm of green areas and construction of 35.3km-long pedestrian and cycling paths. Besides, all the main streets will be covered with granite to give the area a unique feature. l Involvement of Qatari artists  Ashghal has signed contracts with Qatari artists to submit artworks and sculptures proposals in various locations within the project area. This comes as part of the efforts to raise the aesthetic value of these locations and transform the entire area into a tourist attraction. Contracts have been signed with Qatari artists Hassan al-Mulla, Salman al-Malik, Ali Hassan, Wafika al-Eissa, Mohamed al-Ateeq and Jameela al-Shuraim. The works and artistic designs resulting from the new contracts would “create a distinctive spirit for the area with a special look matching its nature and special design”. The contracts were signed with the Qatari artists to submit preliminary artwork proposals for sculptures and murals that would reflect the identity of Qatar in the eyes of its citizens and add the imprint of Qatari artists. The initiative would cover different locations, which would be announced later in conjunction with the project schedule and in co-ordination with Qatar Museums, the Ministry of Municipality and Environment and Ministry of Culture and Sports.

A section of the bridge. PICTURE: Ram Chandrnrn
Qatar
Ashghal projects go full steam ahead despite challenges

   Eng. Yousef Abdulrahman Al Emadi, Projects Affairs Director    Badr Mohamed Darwish, Assistant Manager of Highway Projects Department The Public Works Authority (Ashghal)'s project works are continuing without any interruption despite the unjust blockade or Covid-19, and strong evidence of this can be found in the opening of the Duhail-Al Gharrafa Bridge and a section of traffic signals six months ahead of schedule. This was stressed by Yousef al-Emadi, director of Projects Affairs, on Saturday when Ashghal announced the openings. Al-Emadi told Gulf Times that Ashghal continued its race towards completing various infrastructure projects despite the challenges. “All projects are continuing at the right pace,” he said, exuding confidence in completing the ongoing projects before their deadline. He also noted how the authority sets priorities for major projects that serve large sections of people. On the challenges posed by Covid-19, he said the contractors faced some shortage in terms of manpower but proper planning and expedited works helped them overcome these issues. “Things were appropriately planned and we were ahead of schedule when the crisis started to hit. The works were sped up and we kept up the pace,” he said, adding that the main reasons for achieving the completion of works before the deadline are the construction methodology and availability of materials.  “We study and assess the construction methodology with contractors before starting the works. The ways of reducing the time taken (to carry out the works) are discussed while Ashghal ensures the availability of materials,” al-Emadi said, thanking the contractors for being fully co-operative. Ashghal on Saturday announced the opening of the Duhail-Al Gharrafa bridge and a section of the traffic signals within the Duhail Interchange Development Project on Shamal Road. The opening comes six months ahead of schedule and coincides with the opening of schools for the new, 2020-2021 academic year. Dignitaries present at the opening included al-Emadi; Bader Darwish, Highway Projects Department assistant manager; Mubarak bin Freish Mubarak Alsalem, CMC member (Constituency No 15); Ali bin Khalaf Majrin al-Kubaisi, CMC member (Constituency No 3); and other officials from Ashghal and the contracting company concerned. Al-Salem stressed that the new openings would mostly benefit people residing in Al Gharrafa and Gharrafat Al Rayyan, as well as those visiting vital facilities in the region. The area houses many schools and commercial entities, he said, praising Ashghal for its efforts to complete the project in "record time". Al-Kubaisi said the Duhail Interchange is located in a vital area, in the heart of densely populated zones such as Duhail, Al Markhiya and Al Gharrafa. Meanwhile, Ashghal engineer Saad al-Dousari stressed that almost 60% of materials used in the project works are locally manufactured in Qatar, such as iron, concrete, fittings and most of the asphalt works. These included some 207,000 tonnes of asphalt, about 53,000 cubic metres of reinforced concrete and 14,128 tonnes of iron. Ashghal is proud that it could promote local production while implementing its projects, al-Emadi noted. A number of infrastructure services were also developed within the scope of the project, including 10,722m of rainwater drainage and sewage network to prevent the accumulation of water during the rainy season and 14,205m for laying the treated water network and irrigation pipes, besides the extension of 16.8km of electricity networks. PICTURES: Ram Chand Supplied picture

Ziad Nassar (in yellow vest) and other volunteers at an aid distribution centre in Beirut.
Qatar
Lebanese thank Qatar for instant, effective aid

Shukran Qatar (Thanks Qatar) slogans have filled the streets of Beirut after Qatar pledged to help the blast hit Lebanon and aid began to be flown from Doha into the crisis-hit Middle East country. "After the 2006 war, Qatar stood as the main contributor to rebuild Lebanon. We remember Qatar's generosity and the Shukran Qatar slogans marked our gratitude. The same slogan is now back on our streets,” Ziad Nassar, an activist of the Minteshreen Youth Movement, told Gulf Times. He expressed gratitude to Qatar, as well as businesses and entrepreneurs for donating a portion of their sales proceeds to help their Lebanese sisters and brothers. NGOs, youth movements and rights groups in Lebanon have hailed Qatar’s "instant, effective" aid for Lebanon, which has been reeling under shortages after the August 4 deadly explosion that hit the Beirut port, devastating surrounding areas. They said Qatar’s generosity was "not surprising at all and memorable". They have urged Qatar to play a leading role in bringing an end to the long pending political chaos and help the youth put pressure on the government to work towards establishing a true democratic state where justice reigns. The port explosions caused at least 172 deaths, 6,000 injuries, $10–15 billion in property damage, and left an estimated 300,000 people homeless. “Already hit by a political and economic crisis, the blast has aggravated the plight by causing a big humanitarian disaster. Qatar's help has come as a big relief and at the right time,” he said. Since the October Revolution of 2019 in Lebanon, the 28-year old Qatar resident has been active in Beirut taking part in protests and relief activities. “No surprise to see Qatar in the forefront while it comes to helping Lebanon. Qatar has always been there to support Lebanon whether politically or financially when faced with hardships. Qatar has a penchant for extending relief to us. And this legacy remains intact,” he said, reminiscing several occasions where Qatar played a pivotal role in restoring peace and political stability in his country. Qatar has so far provided $50mn in aid to Lebanon and is expected to unveil plans to help rebuild the devastated capital. The ‘Lebanon in Our Hearts’ fundraising campaign raised over QR94mn, after Qatari citizens and organisations joined hands to help Beirut blast victims. In order to help the blast victims, Minteshreen along with other organisations, has set up a Base Camp where stations supply food and tools and first aid round the clock, all covered by volunteers and donations. The group is helping clear and assess the damage caused by the blast. Safety guidance is also given besides mental and emotional support through a clinic. Qatar has sent a fully-equipped team from the Qatari International Search and Rescue Group and established two field hospitals in Beirut. Qatar Airways has launched an aid programme that has enabled citizens and residents of Qatar to donate essential supplies. On Thursday, two aircraft of the Amiri Air Force landed at Beirut's Rafic Hariri International Airport with 44 tonnes of medical and humanitarian aid. Another cargo plane carrying tonnes of relief aid, food and other essential items for those affected by the Beirut explosion has also arrived in Beirut. Ziad said this help comes despite Qatar having faced bitter political experience from some parties in Lebanon. Alleging lack of transparency on part of the Lebanese government in spending funds, Ziad urged the international community to help the victims through NGOs and other support groups. “The country is in dire need of help from the international community to minimise the suffering. Complete absence of Lebanese government in serving on the ground and extending relief is beyond evident. We urge the international community and Qatar to put pressure on the government to announce early elections,” he said and demanded an international investigation into the explosion. “The number of casualties as well as the real size of the damage remain unknown. But, what we all know now is that the government was aware of the presence of a 'mini nuclear bomb' in the middle of our capital. We paid the price for its laxity of storing explosives in residential areas,” he said, adding nothing but only an international investigation will shed light into the facts. “Our government’s credentials are dubious. Countries like Qatar can play a pivotal role to help us Lebanese achieve our demands and take our country to a new era,” he said.

Officials at the newly built bridge. PICTURES: Ram Chand
Qatar
Ashghal opens vital Duhail-Al Gharrafa bridge to traffic

* New bridge provides free-flowing traffic between Al Khafji St and Al Gharrafa St and connects West Bay, Al Markhiya, Madinat Khalifa and Duhail with Al Gharrafa and Al Rayyan    Eng. Yousef Abdulrahman Al Emadi, Projects Affairs Director    Badr Mohamed Darwish, Assistant Manager of Highway Projects Department The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) on Saturday announced the opening of the Duhail-Al Gharrafa bridge and a section of the traffic signals within the Duhail Interchange Development Project on Shamal Road. The opening comes six months ahead of schedule and coincides with the opening of schools for the new, 2020-2021 academic year. Ashghal began implementing this project in the first quarter of 2019. Consisting of a 400m three-lane dual carriageway to accommodate about 12,000 vehicles per hour on both directions, the bridge will provide free-flowing traffic between Al Khafaji Street and Al Gharrafa Street and reduce travel time by 95% from West Bay, Al Markhiya, Madinat Khalifa and Duhail towards Gharrafat Al Rayyan, Al Gharrafa and Al Rayyan.  Ashghal has stressed that the remaining parts of the Duhail Interchange project are scheduled to open in September, within 18 months from the start of works on the project. Dignitaries present at the opening included Yousef al-Emadi, Projects Affairs director; Bader Darwish, Highway Projects Department assistant manager; Mubarak bin Freish Mubarak Alsalem, CMC member (Constituency No 15); Ali bin Khalaf Majrin al-Kubaisi, CMC member (Constituency No 3); and other officials from Ashghal and the contracting company. PICTURES: Ram Chand Supplied picture A section of the traffic signals under North Bridge have also been opened in addition to the Duhail Al-Gharrafa Bridge. So, commuters from Al Shamal Road can directly access Duhail and West Bay through Al Khafji Street and vice-versa, while those from Al Gharrafa can directly reach Al Shamal Road and vice-versa. Passengers along Al Gharrafa Street, Al Khafji Street and Shamal Road can take a U-turn after the opening of all U-turn exits on all streets. Due to its strategic location at the northern entrance of Doha city on Shamal Road, the new openings on Duhail Interchange will enhance traffic flow in the region by providing alternative routes to schools, Qatar University and the College of the North Atlantic-Qatar and Education City. It will also serve commuters heading to commercial entities in the region. Further, the openings will provide alternative traffic routes at the Izghawa and Umm Lekhba interchanges, which are being developed within the Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor project, resulting in reduced traffic congestion at two vital interchanges. Al-Emadi stressed Ashghal's project works are continuing without any interruptions despite the blockade and Covid-19, and strong evidence of this can be found in the opening of the Duhail Al-Gharrafa Bridge and traffic six months before schedule. Darwish said the Duhail Interchange will bring about a radical change in traffic flow once it’s completed. “The new bridge will help shorten distance and save travel time by more than 95% after renovation of the Duhail Interchange. Previously, road users had to use the congested, signalised Duhail Roundabout,” he noted. Assistant project manager Sheikha al-Mansoori said 75% of works on Duhail Interchange have been completed in record time. “The remaining works are continuing in full swing to end the project in 2021,” she added. She also noted that the opening of the Duhail Al-Gharrafa Bridge and a section of traffic lights at the interchange coincides with the start of the new academic year, as the area houses many schools and other educational institutions. The Duhail Interchange is located in a densely populated and commercially important location as it houses many government institutions, educational and health facilities as well as commercial entities and shopping centres. The interchange will reduce the traffic pressure on Doha Expressway, especially in the Duhail and Al Gharrafa areas, and provide free-flowing vehicular movement in the area. The project includes construction works for 3.3km of road network and development of an old interchange. It covers the construction of a bridge consisting of a three-lane dual carriageway connecting Al Khafji Street and Al Gharrafa Street along with the development of parts of the two streets, installing a traffic signal under the North Bridge to provide commuters on Shamal Road with accesses to Duhail and Al Gharrafa, construction of an underpass that facilitates access for commuters from Shamal Road towards service roads and commercial complexes and another service road for commuters from Al Gharrafa Street towards Al Shamal Road. The works also include removal of the roundabout known as Sheikh Faisal Roundabout and link Al Gharafa Road with Al Mashabiya Street. The project also includes the construction of bicycle and pedestrian paths of about 5.5km stretching from Duhail to Al Gharrafa and parts of Shamal Road, besides works to develop rainwater drainage and sewage network. Ashghal began implementation works on this project in the first quarter of 2019. In December 2019, it opened the North Bridge after providing five lanes towards the north and four lanes towards Doha, replacing the previous three-lane bridge, thus achieving tremendous development in traffic flow in the crowded area.

(file photo)
Qatar
Friday prayers in 200 more mosques

With the Covid-19 restrictions being lifted, 200 additional mosques will host Friday prayers, the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs has announced. The ministry has published the names, numbers and locations of the additional mosques where Friday prayers will be held from Friday (August 7). A total of 400 mosques are now available for Friday prayers. The ministry has asked the faithful to follow the safety measures. “All precautions and safety measures announced in the last phase of reopening are applicable,” a tweet by the Awqaf ministry said. For the Friday prayer, the mosques will be opened with the first prayer call, 30 minutes before Friday's sermon. They will be closed after 10 minutes of Friday prayers. The ministry has informed that social distancing will be applied to the Friday sermon and prayers. Women and children will not be allowed in the mosque during Friday prayers. Awqaf has urged persons with ailments and the elderly to perform the prayers at home. The ministry has asked all to abide by the restrictions. “Precaution is obligatory and commitment to precautionary measures helps us to win this epidemic. Do not shake hands even if you are wearing a glove,” a tweet by the ministry said earlier. The worshippers, according to the circular by the ministry, should cover mouth and nose while sneezing, wear face masks as long as they are in the mosques and make ablution at home because the bathrooms and ablution place of the mosques will be closed. The ministry has asked the faithful not to go to the mosques early as they will be opened only with prayer calls. The believers should maintain a distance of two meters from each other and not gather inside the mosque. The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has requested the worshippers to bring their own Mus’haf if they want to recite the Qur'an inside the mosque or make use of the applications available in mobile phones. “They should bring their own prayer mat and not share with others or leave it in the mosque,” MoPH has said. A total of 200 mosques were opened for Eid al-Adha prayers on July 31 while 401 mosques and prayer ground were available as well. In the first phase, a total of 500 mosques were reopened on June 15 while 299 mosques were made available for prayers in the second phase on July 1. As many as 300 additional mosques were opened on July 27.

Community leaders laud Our Eid Together initiativernrn
Qatar
Community leaders laud Our Eid Together initiative

Leaders of various expatriate communities have lauded the Our Eid Together initiative and hailed the Qatar government's keenness to ensure the welfare of all. The initiative, in its second phase, has come as a relief for thousands as they are given food and essential commodities during the occasion of Eid al-Adha. "The government pays much attention towards the communities and takes good care of them,” Indian Cultural Centre (ICC) president AP Manikantan said while describing the initiative as a testimonial for the good approach towards expatriates. The Our Eid is One initiative in its second phase has benefited as many as 50,000 residents in Qatar. Jointly launched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), the Ministry of Interior (MoI), the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA), Qatar Charity and Ooredoo, the initiative is implemented in co-operation with various community organisations. It was launched in order to help community members celebrate Eid at their homes and convey the importance of staying at their residences for the prevention of the spread of Covid-19. Hamid Rasool from Pakistani community hailed the initiative saying it made the Eid blessed for thousands by providing them relief and food. “Many have benefited. And we are working to ensure that the kits reach the right persons,” he said. Qatar residents from 17 nationalities benefited from 25,000 food coupons that provided them with necessary food items for the Eid. The coupons were distributed on the first day of Eid al-Adha at a function held in the headquarters of the Qatar Charity in Lusail. The embassies of Philippines, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Tunisia, Gambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Kenya and expat community organisations including the Bangladeshi Community Organisation, the Indian Community Benevolent Forum (ICBF), the Indian Cultural Centre (ICC), the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC), the Cultural Forum, the Indonesian Community Association – Permica, the Indian Community Center, the Helping Hands - Al Khor, the Filipino Community in Qatar, the Non Resident Nepalese Association (NRNA), the Thrissur District Souhruda Vedi, the Kerala Cultural Center and the Sri Lankan Community Development Forum. Engineer Anwar Hossain Akon, president of the Bangladesh Community- Qatar (BCQ), hailed Qatar and said special arrangements have been made and volunteers are working to implement the scheme. “We have got applications from various parts of the country and beneficiaries have been identified. Kits are being distributed,” he said. Mohamed Muktda Musalman of the Non Resident Nepali Association said 1,000 kits were distributed among the community members and the community leadership is working to reach the rest of the beneficiaries. The Nepali community received a total of 2,250 kits. “We celebrate Eid through this initiative. And we are glad that the communities are provided with good care,” he said. Filipino Community leader engineer Henry Dimaano said Qatar is actively engaged in ensuring the welfare of all and is paying special care to the persons in need and the members of the expatriate communities. He said that Filipino representatives are working with Al Hilal, Al Wajba and Al Wakra Al Meera supermarkets where beneficiaries can receive the kits after filling the forms. Pantalion Perera, president of Sri Lankan Co-ordinating Committee, thanked the Qatar government and said the kits will be distributed to the beneficiaries through the Sri Lankan embassy. Noor Khan Al Afghani from the Afghani community thanked Qatar saying their members are working to reach out into the beneficiaries across the country. Omer Farah from Kenyan community said the initiative came at the right time and thanked the ministries and Qatar Charity for helping those in need. "The Kenyan embassy along with the community leaders has identified the beneficiaries and works are on to distribute them the food kits," he said. Tanzanian community leader Fatma Hassan, who expressed her gratitude to the authorities, said that the initiative will extend relief to the jobless persons in during the tough time. "Qatar deserves applause for doing its bit for the welfare of all. The country is keen to take care of all," she added.

Precautionary and safety measures required for prayer in mosques.
Qatar
Eid prayers to be held at 401 mosques and prayer grounds

A total of 401 mosques and prayer grounds across the country will host Eid al-Adha prayers, the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs has informed. Awqaf has published the list of the mosques and prayer grounds on its social media accounts and asked the believers to follow the safety measures. The ministry also released the list of 200 mosques where Friday prayers will be held from July 31. Name, number and location of the mosque are available on the Twitter handle of the ministry. For the Friday prayer, the mosques, according to an Awqaf tweet, will be opened with the first prayer call, 30 minutes before Friday's sermon. They will be closed after 10 minutes of Friday prayers. The Ministry has informed that social distancing will be applied to the Friday sermon and prayers. Women and children will not be allowed in the mosque during Friday prayers. Awqaf has so far asked persons with ailments and old age to perform prayers at home. The ministry has asked all to abide by the restrictions. “Precaution is obligatory and commitment to precautionary measures helps us to win this epidemic. Do not shake hands even if you are wearing a glove,” a tweet by the ministry said earlier. The worshippers, according to the circular by the ministry, should cover mouth and nose while sneezing, wear face masks as long as they are in the mosques and make ablution at home because the bathrooms and ablution place of the mosques will be closed. The ministry has asked not to go to the mosques earlier because the mosques will be opened only with prayer calls. The believers maintain a distance of 2m and should not gather inside the mosque. The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has requested believers to bring their own Mus’haf if they want to recite the Qur'an inside the mosque or make use of the applications available in mobile phones. They should bring their own prayer mat and not share with others or leave it in the mosque. In the first phase, a total of 500 mosques were reopened on June 15 while 299 mosques were made available for prayers in the second phase on July 1. 300 additional mosques were opened Tuesday. And the Friday prayer was only held at the Imam Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab in the presence of 40 worshippers, including the imam and the mosque's employees.

Velutha Parambath Soopi Haji
Qatar
Owner of common man's 'Taxi hotel' passes away

* For Velutha Parambath Soopi Haji, life in Qatar was 'all about dedication, helping others and showing kindness' The expatriate community in Qatar owes its gratitude to Velutha Parambath Soopi Haji, a long-time Qatar resident who died Monday, who often lent a helping hand to people in need, Haji’s friends and associates said. Haji was 70. He is survived by wife Fathima, sons Jaleel and Haris, and daughters Jaseena and Sumayya. One of the owners of Al Salihiya Restaurant, popularly known as 'Taxi hotel', in the Al Muntazah area of Doha, Haji breathed his last at his residence at Ummathur in Kozhikode district of Kerala. He had been undergoing treatment for cancer for the last few months. “For him, life in Qatar was all about dedication, helping others and showing kindness,” reminisced Qatar-based businessman and a member of the Kerala legislative assembly, Parakkal Abdulla. “He was glad to serve whenever social workers approached him seeking help. The late-1980s witnessed an influx of expatriates to Qatar. He served needy expatriates by helping them find jobs,” Parakkal recalled, adding that Haji's death is a personal loss for him. Haji started his career as a businessman in Doha in the late-1970s following in the footsteps of his father Abdulla, who started the restaurant in 1972. Known for his dedication, Haji ran the restaurant for decades and earned fame by making it a favourite destination of low-income workers, especially taxi drivers. “The restaurant turned out to be a hub for taxi drivers as it provided food at affordable rates through the day. Haji wanted to help the underprivileged get quality food round the clock. He never compromised when it came to the quality of food,” reminisced restaurant manager Muneer Puthiyapurayil, manager of the restaurant. While it earned the name 'Taxi hotel' due to its popularity among cabbies, the restaurant gradually emerged as the go-to place for many other residents as well -- particularly those looking for food at odd hours. Haji’s friends also recalled that none was denied food for not having enough money. A man of simplicity, dignity and high moral values, Haji lent a helping hand to expatriates in need. “He was helpful and also wanted all of us to lend a helping hand to the needy. He used to remind us to serve food at minimum prices and ensure all are served well. The restaurant remains a busy place, where taxi drivers and others come in large numbers to eat. This bears testimony to the virtues of Haji,” Puthiyapurayil added. Haji left for home eight months ago and was unable to come back due to his ailment. He was laid to rest in the Parakkadavu mosque grounds.

Gulf Times
Qatar
300 more mosques to reopen

A total of 300 mosques in various parts of Qatar will be reopened in the third phase as part of lifting Covid-19 restrictions, the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs has announced. The mosques will be open for believers from the dawn prayer Tuesday, July 28. The ministry has published the list of the mosques and asked believers to follow the directions given by the authorities to prevent the spread of Covid-19. People with ailments and the elderly have been asked to perform prayers at home. The mosques will be reopened at various areas including Ezgava, Umm Seneem, Al Salata Al Jadeeda, Umm Salal Ali, Umm Salal Mohamed, Umm Ghuwailina, Umm Qarn, Umm Lekhba, Bin Omran, Bin Mahmoud, Bu Sidra, Al Thumama, Al Jumailiya, Al Khor, Al Duhail, Al Rayyan Al Jadeed, Al Rayyan Al Qadeem, Al Sadd, Simaisma, Al Sailiya, Al Sheehaniya, Al Shamal, Al Azeeziya, Ain Kahled, Al Ghanem Al Jadeed, Al Gharrafa, Fereej bin Omar, Al Luqta, Madinat Al Shamal, Madina Khalifa South, Madina Khalifa North, Al Matar Qadeem, Hamad International Airport, Al Mamoura, Muaither South, Muaither North, Al Najma, Al Wakra and Al Wukair. The ministry has asked all to abide by the restrictions. “Precaution is obligatory and commitment to precautionary measures helps us to win the fight against this epidemic. Do not shake hands even if you are wearing a glove,” a tweet by the ministry said earlier. The worshippers, according to the circular by the ministry, should cover mouth and nose while sneezing, wear face masks as long as they are in the mosques and make ablution at home because the bathrooms and ablution place of the mosques will be closed. The ministry has asked people not to go to the mosques earlier because they will be opened only with prayer calls. The believers should maintain a distance of 2m and should not gather inside the mosque. They should bring their own prayer mat and not share it with others or leave it in the mosque. In the first phase, a total of 500 mosques were reopened on June 15 while 299 mosques were made available for prayers in the second phase on July 1. The believers can find the nearest reopened mosque by accessing this link .

An interior view of the under construction Al Meshaf Health Centre.
Qatar
Ashghal boosts healthcare infrastructure

The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has achieved substantial progress in improving the healthcare infrastructure as part of its efforts to help Qatar achieve the National Vision 2030. Ashghal has so far completed the construction of health centres at Muaither, Al Wajba, Al Waab and Naufar and they have been handed over to the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH). This in addition to Al Ruwais Health Centre that has 48 clinics, 26 consulting rooms, five specialised consulting rooms, four dental clinics,10 dialysis units, a pharmacy, radiology facilities and a swimming pool. Ashghal also completed the construction of Hamad Medical Corporation's (HMC) ultra-modern simulation centre that helps healthcare professionals improve their skills and advance clinical techniques. The Hamad General Hospital Trauma and Emergency Department building was also handed over to HMC. Al Meshaf Health Centre is set for completion next year. Ashghal is currently working on the QR240mn National Health Laboratory at Mesaimeer. Once completed the laboratory will deal with infectious diseases monitoring and extend testing services including water and environmental tests. The project covers an area of 40,000 sq m and includes food safety and drug quality laboratories. The health centre at South Al Wakra will be handed over this year to MoPH while the centres at Al Sadd, Al Meshaf, Ain Khaled and Al Khor will be completed next year. Ashghal has set construction criteria by the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) and operational and architectural considerations taken to accomplish a three star environmental level in terms of energy saving and environment preservation. Solar energy is used for the purpose of in-house water heating and natural sunlight is used through panoramic roof windows to save a quite bit of electricity used in lights and to disinfect the place. Rational consumption of water inside and outside the building is ensured while green areas and landscapes are grown around the facility. The environment around is also preserved during the implementation of the project.