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Wednesday, April 17, 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.
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.

Gulf Times
Qatar
299 more mosques across Qatar reopen Wednesday

A total of 299 mosques across Qatar will be reopened in the second phase on July 1 Wednesday, except for Friday prayers, as part of easing the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions, the Ministry of Awqaf (Endowments) and Islamic Affairs announced Monday. In the first phase, 500 mosques were reopened. The ministry urged the faithful to follow the directives from the authorities to prevent the spread of Covid-19 while releasing the list of the mosques. “We are pleased to announce that more mosques will be opened in line with resuming activities in the second phase. The mosques will be available for believers from Fajr prayer on July 1,” a tweet by the ministry said. It was in March that the Ministry of Awqaf (Endowments) and Islamic Affairs ordered mosques to close and suspend the five obligatory congregational prayers and Friday prayers for the safety and well-being of worshippers as a preventive and precautionary measure to limit the spread of Covid-19. Only the Imam Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab Mosque was exempted from this decision, where Friday prayers were held exclusively in the presence of 40 worshippers, including the imam and the mosque's employees. Mosques will be reopened at various areas including Abal Hayat, Ezghawa, Al Salata Al Jadeeda, Umm Al Zubar West, Umm Saneem, Ain Khaled, Umm Salal Ali, Umm Qarn, Umm Lekhba, Bin Omran, Bane Hajer, Bu Sidra, Bu Hamour, Umm Al Amad, Al Thumama, Al Sheehaniya, Al Jumailiya, Al Azeeziya, Al Khor, Al Kheesa, Al Duhail, Al Mamoura,Legataifiya, Al Sudan, Al Sailiya, Al Shamal, Al Ebb, Al Ghanim Al Jadeed, Al Gharrafa, Gharrafat Al Rayyan, Al Mirqab Al Jadeed, Mesaieed, Al Matar Al Qadeem, Madinat Khalifa North, Muaither South, Muaither North, Al Nasraniya, Al Nuaija, Al Wakra, Al Wukair and Al Wajba. The worshippers, according to a circular by the ministry, should cover their 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 early to the mosques as they will be opened only with prayer calls. The worshippers should maintain a distance of 2m between each other and should not gather inside the mosque. They should also bring their own prayer mat and not share it with others or leave it in the mosque, the ministry added.

One of the photovoltaic stations for energy storage and charging electric vehicles.
Qatar
Kahramaa aims for 500 electric car charging stations by 2022

Qatar’s efforts to go green have taken an active turn with the Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) looking to set up 200 to 500 charging points for electric cars across the country by 2022. "The charging points will be at shopping malls, residential areas, stadiums, parks and government offices," said engineer Mohamed Khalid al-Sharshani, head of the technical section at the National Programme for Conservation and Energy Efficiency (Tarsheed). Addressing Qatar TV, the official explained that Kahramaa aims to produce 700MW from solar panels by 2022. Engineer Mohamed Khalid al-Sharshani The electric charging stations will be established across Qatar in co-operation with various stakeholders including the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) and the Ministry of Transport and Communication (MoTC). Tarsheed, is also looking to raise the share of electric cars to 10% of the total cars sold in Qatar by 2022. Kahramaa had earlier announced that it has plans to achieve a significant goal of making 3-5% of the total car population in the country green by 2022. Last year, Kahramaa, represented by Tarsheed, launched Tarsheed Photovoltaic Station for Energy Storage and Charging Electric Vehicles at the Corporation’s Mesaimeer Complex. The station functions as a charging point for vehicles with electricity produced from solar energy via 216 photovoltaic panels that are divided into two areas with a total area of 270 sq m. The entire area is equal to the row for 24 cars’ spaces. The total power produced from these panels is 72 KW peak. The station contains a unit that has two connections of Combo and CHAdeMO types that are compatible with different types of vehicles. The unit allows two cars to be charged at a time with a rapid charging level of 15 – 20 minutes. The maximum charging capacity is 100 kw. The station also contains a power storage unit in a battery with a capacity of 170 kw/h. The charging cord of 100 kw is enough to charge three cars. The surplus energy is exported to the grid after charging the battery. Apart from the photovoltaic station at Mesaimeer, electric charging stations are functional at Qatar Scientific Club, Kahramaa Main Building, Kahramaa Awareness Park Building, Alfardan Towers, St. Regis Doha and Marsa Malaz Kempinski at The Pearl-Qatar.

Some of the houses constructed on land donated by Iqbal.
Qatar
Kerala families benefit from expat businessman's largesse

It was a day of immense joy and fulfillment for Qatar-based Indian businessman Ahammed Iqbal who donated 1.5 acres of land in his native place to build houses for 15 families left homeless by floods last year. Karad, a village in Malappuram district of the southern state of Kerala, Sunday witnessed a function where the families received the keys to their new homes. Ahammed Iqbal “The smiles of gratitude gave me a feeling of delight. I am glad that I could uplift some flood victims from despair to happiness,” Iqbal told Gulf Times. After the land was handed over to the district administration, the 15 houses were built with funds contributed by M P Ramachandran, chairman of Mumbai-based Jyothy Laboratories Ltd. Iqbal recalled that the district administration had received several applications from many families whose houses were washed away in the deluge. The beneficiaries were selected after scrutiny and drawing lots. Most of the beneficiaries came from Kavalappara village that was wiped out by a massive landslide and flash floods on the night of August 8 last year. The natural calamity claimed 48 lives while leaving hundreds homeless. Iqbal, who was in Qatar during the deluge, approached the Kerala district administration expressing his readiness to extend a helping hand to the victims. On behalf of Iqbal, his friend Mujeebu Rahman handed over the documents to the district administration. “I simply wanted to do my part for the victims and stand with my people during the tough times. I have sufficient land and my religion allows me to take only three pieces of cloth when I depart,” he said, adding that his parents very often inspire him to help landless people. Kerala's Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel and magician Gopinath Muthukad handed over the keys to the beneficiaries.

Ashghal completes 50 % of the excavation works of the outfall tunnel
Qatar
Ashghal completes 50% excavation works of the 10-km long outfall tunnel

The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has completed 50% excavation works of the 10-km long outfall tunnel of Mesaimeer Pumping Station and Outfall project. According to a video by Ashghal on its official social media platforms, the project has achieved remarkable development and will be completed in the last quarter of 2021 at a total cost of about QR920mn. The outfall tunnel, is described as the longest of its kind in the world and an important step towards providing a sustainable solution for the discharge of surface and stormwater in the country. The project will accommodate surface and storm water volumes received from the drainage networks located in different areas in Doha. The water is treated according to the highest internationally approved specifications, and then pumped 10km away from the seashore via the Mesaimeer pumping station and outfall tunnel. The excavation of the outfall tunnel is at a depth of 15m below the seabed and about 3.7m in diameter and considered a “major construction challenge due to the variable geology that increases the exposure to unexpected conditions”. The main tunnel at Mesaimeer will connect the existing and future drainage networks. The tunnel will "operate to drain surface water from sub-networks located in different areas, spread over an estimated 170sqkm area, and minimise rainwater catchments, especially in tunnels, as it is connected with rainwater drainage networks in 22 tunnels" (for vehicles). The tunnel project will also decrease the surface water level and reduce pumping costs in construction projects across the country. Besides, it will help preserve the foundations of buildings by reducing waterlogging. The excavation is carried out using a highly specialised tunnel boring machine (TBM) that uses a technique called Earth Pressure Balance and designed to operate in a range of ground conditions in Qatar, and along the variable geology along the tunnel. The TBM machine incorporates advanced technologies that ensure the efficiency of the drilling process, providing the maximum safety standards for tunnel workers and operators, as well as monitoring the work execution through all its stages. The safety features include a “closed mode” feature, used in the case of ground deterioration to prevent water from entering the tunnel and thus protect the workers, in addition to rescue chambers that protect personnel during emergencies, fire detection and suppression, as well as emergency electricity generation systems.

500 mosques reopening on Mondayrn
Qatar
500 mosques to reopen on June 15 in first phase

Five hundred mosques across Qatar will be reopened in the first phase on June 15, the Ministry of Awqaf (Endowments) and Islamic Affairs announced on Thursday. The ministry has published a list of the mosques and urged the faithful to follow the directives from the authorities to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19). It was in March that the Ministry ordered mosques to close and suspend the five obligatory congregational prayers and Friday prayers for the safety and well-being of worshippers and as a preventive and precautionary measure to limit the spread of the virus. Only the Imam Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab Mosque was exempted from this decision, where Friday prayers were held exclusively in the presence of 40 worshippers, including the imam and the mosque's employees. According to the ministry's announcement on Thursday, the mosques will be reopened at various areas including Abal Heeran, Bin Omran, Bu Sidra, Bu Hamour, Ezgava, Al Salata Al Jadeeda, Umm Saneem, Umm Al Amad, Umm Salal Ali, Umm Salal Mohamed, Gharrafat Al Rayyan, Umm Qarn, Umm Lekhba, Al Luqta, Bane Hajer, Bu Sidra, Al Khor, Al Kheesa, Al Ruwais, Al Rayyan Al Jadeed, Al Sadd, Al Sudan, Al Shahaniyya, Al Azeeziya, Onaiza, Ain Khaled, Al Gharrafa, Madinat Khalifa South, Legataifiya, Al Mirqab, Al Meshaf, Muaither South, Al Wajba, Al Hilal, 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 this epidemic. Do not shake hands even if you are wearing gloves,” the Ministry said in a tweet. The worshippers, according to a circular by the Ministry, should cover their 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 early to the mosques as they will be opened only with prayer calls. The worshippers should maintain a distance of 2m between each other 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. The faithful can locate the nearest reopened mosque by accessing the link https://www.islam.gov.qa/services/COVID19Mosques.aspx.

Ashud Ahmedrnrn
Qatar
Bangladesh envoy lauds Qatar

The ambassador of Bangladesh, Ashud Ahmed, has hailed Qatar saying the country has shown the way and given a lesson to the world on how to overcome challenges. “Ask Qatar how to respond to a siege and the country will teach how to overcome such difficulties. Qatar has shown exemplary courage in defeating the blockade,” Ahmed told Gulf Times. The envoy stressed that Qatar turned an adversity into an opportunity. “The country and its wise leadership dealt with the emergency in a novel way. Shortages were resolved and the government ensured the availability of essential commodities through timely intervention and by closely monitoring the developments,” he said. Eventually, Ahmed noted, the blockade helped Qatar take advantage of the crisis. The resultant multifaceted progress paved the way towards attaining self-sufficiency in various sectors, including production. “This can be termed as nothing short of a stepping stone in Qatar’s journey towards standing on its own feet,” he said. The ambassador said Qatar won the hearts of its expatriate community members by ensuring their welfare. “The issues faced by expatriates were equally considered and duly addressed by the leadership. From the authorities, the expatriates witnessed an approach that is the same as the one for citizens when it comes to welfare and meeting daily requirements,” he explained. According to the Bangladeshi envoy, his country played its part well by staying together with Qatar. “Bangladesh expressed its solidarity with Qatar and the expatriates here continued to work for the development of the country. Our workforce has been part of the FIFA 2022 World Cup projects and worked for their successful completion,” he said. They have contributed to the development of the country by working hard and abiding by the rules and regulations of the country, he added.

Ashghal has a long list of accomplishments over the past few years
Qatar
Ashghal puts infra development on fast track

Infrastructure development has been on the fast track over the past few years, with the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) achieving a number of milestones during the journey. The blockade imposed three years ago has not been able to hamper infrastructure development in the country. This is because Ashghal, guided by the policies and decisions of the wise leadership, has turned a challenge into an opportunity by opting for local options while executing its projects. Ashghal's long list of accomplishments over the past few years include several highways, interchanges, internal roads, sewage networks, beautification projects, cyclist and pedestrian paths, conversion of roundabouts into signallised intersections and other infrastructure projects. It has completed a highway network of 790km, and made more than 95% of the highway network ready to serve the 2022 FIFA World Cup stadiums. Qatar has witnessed major road projects, such as Al Khor Road, Al Majd Road, Lusail Road, G-Ring Road and others, take shape since the blockade began. Eng Youssef al-Emadi, director of Projects Affairs at Ashghal, recently stressed that the authority’s projects were not affected by the blockade and that the pace of work continued in accordance with the plans. Ashghal relied heavily on the local factor by using materials made in Qatar and engaging local companies, achieving a tangible boom in the country’s infrastructure sector, he added. Eng Bader Darwish, Highway Projects Department manager, confirmed that Ashghal has completed the implementation of about 790km of the highway network, which is considered a “good testimony to the fact that the construction process was not affected by the unjust siege of about three years”. Ashghal has opened most of the highway network during the blockade period, which caused a “qualitative shift in the movement of goods and people in all parts of the country”, especially strategic areas, ports, Hamad International Airport, the Industrial Area and other vital facilities, he noted. He added that the prestigious Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor has witnessed several openings since its inception in 2019 with more than 70% of the vital road works having been completed. Also, 95% of the Khalifa Avenue project and 87% of the Mesaimeer Intersection have been completed while Qatar has also witnessed the opening of several bridges on Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor. Maintenance and re-paving of 500km of roads were carried by Ashghal in 2019 alone. Through the Traffic Safety Programme, Ashghal has developed safe-to-acceas roads in the vicinity of schools around the country. The Local Road Development and Infrastructure Projects by Ashghal have resulted in the opening of several roads, including the ones leading to Al Rayyan Stadium and Al Bayt Stadium. Dukhan Road has also witnessed a lot of development while works on the main tunnel of the 17km sewage network have been completed. The period witnessed the signing of 10 new contracts for the Infrastructure Development Projects of Citizens' Sub-Divisions with a total value of about QR4bn to serve more than 8,400 land plots. As for building projects, Ashghal completed the construction of 15 schools and kindergartens, five health centres, 22 projects by the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, amenities with tourism places and Trauma and Emergency building at Hamad General Hospital. Besides, works are on with several buildings in the education and health sectors. Ashghal drew international attention by setting up a 3,000-bed medical quarantine hospital within 72 hours. Ashghal has also won a slew of international recognitions. For instance, the Roads and Infrastructure Development Projects in the Industrial Area (Package 3) and West Muaither (Package 3) received two international safety awards from the British Safety Council.