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Thursday, February 02, 2023 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
 Shafeeq Alingal
Shafeeq Alingal
Shafeeq Alingal is a Staff Reporter with Gulf Times. He has mainstream media experience of six years. Health, environment and wildlife are among his specialties.
Gulf Times
Qatar
Doha Metro and Lusail Tram timings extended for World Cup

Doha Metro will extend its operational hours during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Abdulla Saif al-Sulaiti, chief of Service Delivery at Qatar Rail, has said. From November 11 to December 20, the Metro will run from 6am to 3am, Saturday to Thursday, and from 9am to 3am on Friday. Al-Sulaiti said passengers with the Hayya Card and enjoy free travel from November 10 to December 23. Non-ticketholders can buy a travel card at stations and then save time by topping up online or on the Qatar Rail app (iOS and Android). He also informed that there will be parking spaces allocated for the public next to Metro stations as part of the Park & Ride service with a capacity of 18,200 parking spaces. The Metro is expected to transport approximately 30% to 50% of the total number of fans heading to stadiums during the tournament period, it was revealed during a press conference yesterday, attended by al-Sulaiti and other officials. The Metro system has three lines (Gold, Green and Red) covering 37 stations. Trains run every three minutes and staff are available at every station to assist passengers during their journey. Meanwhile, free metrolink buses run useful routes within 2-5km of stations. The operating hours will be extended in line with the working hours of the Metro during the World Cup. Meanwhile, Lusail Tram connects to the Metro via Legtaifiya Station (Red Line). Lusail Tram will run extended services throughout the tournament from November 17 to December 20: from 6am to 3am, Saturday to Thursday; and from 9am to 3am on Friday. Education City Tram will operate as a Park & Ride facility for matches hosted by Education City Stadium. Msheireb Tram connects Msheireb Metro station to landmark locations within Msheireb Downtown Doha.    

First Lieutenant Engineer Khaled Al-Mulla
Qatar
Corniche to be made pedestrians only from Nov 1 to Dec 19

Traffic will be restricted in Central Doha from November 1 to December 19 in order to facilitate transportation of World Cup fans and host cultural programmes, said Head of the Technical Team of the Corniche Committee, Wednesday. While addressing a press conference organised by the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy on transportation arrangement during the World Cup, First Lieutenant Engineer Khaled Al-Mulla said that Doha Corniche will be pedestrian only place and this is in order to enjoy the events from November 1 to December 19. He said that only specific vehicles will be allowed during the period at Central Doha while parking will be restricted.

Abdulaziz al-Mawlawi, Executive Director of Transport Operations at the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy.
Qatar
Qatar fully prepared to provide smooth transportation during World Cup

The organisers are fully confident in providing the best transportation services during the World Cup, a senior official of the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy (SC) has said. Abdulaziz al-Mawlawi, Executive Director of Transport Operations at SC, while addressing a press conference on Wednesday said that there will be different transportation alternatives in various places with the best plans to facilitate access to stadiums. “The metro, buses and taxis are fully prepared, and we advise everyone to plan before embarking on their trips. We worked on developing all solutions to be ready to facilitate the movement of transportation throughout the period of hosting. We have tried different transport plans in various local and international events and worked on improving and modifying the plans to reach an integrated transport plan that will be implemented during the World Cup,” he said. He urged the fans to use official platforms to get updates and said a comprehensive World Cup guide will be published and printed.

Public Works Authority (Ashghal) president Dr Saad Ahmed al-Muhannadi
Qatar
Ashghal records remarkable achievements in past decade: president

The level of infrastructure development Qatar accomplished in the past 10 years could have reached by no other country, Public Works Authority (Ashghal) president Dr Saad Ahmed al-Muhannadi has said. Speaking to Qatar TV, Dr Al-Muhannadi said Ashghal has implemented numerous projects for the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) while also completing works related to various other vital facilities. “This infrastructure constitutes a sustainable legacy for future generations. The new projects have reduced the travel time and eased traffic movement. The priority is for areas that don’t have sanitation and face a high level of groundwater,” he explained. Dr al-Muhannadi said Ashghal has completed works on three main tunnels linking the Corniche East and West along with a project for jogging and cycling tracks. These are in addition to the development of rainwater, electricity and water drainage networks. He explained that granite slabs were placed on Central Doha streets as an alternative with an aim to compel drivers to reduce the speed of their vehicles. “The granite was not a wrong choice as some point out. It’s to give the driver a sense of vibration to compel him/her to reduce the speed while providing safety and security for pedestrians,” he noted. The senior official said the Lusail Road project is a special one with a service tunnel that has been provided with all infrastructure services to avoid re-drilling during maintenance. He also pointed out that Al Khor Coastal Road is one of the most important projects related to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, because it serves the Lusail and Al Bayt stadiums. He also said nearly 48,000 plots for citizens’ lands will be developed in 36 regions in the next five years, while 36,000 are currently being developed. “During the past five years, 26,000 plots were developed, bringing the total in 10 years to nearly 110,000,” he said. The Ashghal president noted that constructive criticism helps the authority provide better services. “We receive criticism as a result of temporary disturbances, and there is no doubt that some of them are constructive and help provide better services or change the ways of implementing projects,” he said, adding that Ashghal also receives calls from citizens who hail the authority after completing a project. He added that Ashghal is constantly working with contractors to avoid any delays and flaws in project implementation.

Public Works Authority (Ashghal) president Eng. Saad Ahmed al-Muhannadi
Qatar
Ashghal records remarkable achievements in development sector in last 10 years: president

The infrastructure development accomplished by Qatar in the past 10 years cannot be achieved by any other country, Public Works Authority (Ashghal) president Dr Saad Ahmed al-Muhannadi has said. Speaking to Qatar TV, Dr al-Muhannadi said Ashghal has implemented numerous projects for the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) while also completing works related to various other vital facilities. “This infrastructure constitutes a sustainable legacy for future generations. The new projects have reduced the travel time and eased traffic movement. The priority is for areas that don’t have sanitation and face a high level of groundwater,” he explained. Dr al-Muhannadi said Ashghal has completed works on three main tunnels linking the Corniche East and West along with a project for jogging and cycling tracks. These are in addition to the development of rainwater, electricity and water drainage networks. He explained that granite slabs were placed on Central Doha streets as an alternative with an aim to compel drivers to reduce the speed of their vehicles. “The granite was not a wrong choice as some point out. It’s to give the driver a sense of vibration to compel him/her to reduce the speed while providing safety and security for pedestrians,” he noted. The senior official said the Lusail Road project is a special one with a service tunnel that has been provided with all infrastructure services to avoid re-drilling during maintenance. He also pointed out that Al Khor Coastal Road is one of the most important projects related to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, because it serves the Lusail and Al Bayt stadiums. He also said nearly 48,000 plots for citizens’ lands will be developed in 36 regions in the next five years, while 36,000 are currently being developed. “During the past five years, 26,000 plots were developed,  bringing the total in 10 years to nearly 110,000,” he said. The Ashghal president noted that constructive criticism helps the authority provide better services. “We receive criticism as a result of temporary disturbances, and there is no doubt that some of them are constructive and help provide better services or change the ways of implementing projects,” he said, adding that Ashghal also receives calls from citizens who hail the authority after completing a project. He added that Ashghal is constantly working with contractors to avoid any delays and flaws in project implementation.

Officials at the press conference on Thursday. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Qatar
Winter camping season to start on November 1

The winter camping season will start on November 1 in north and central Qatar while Khor Al Odaid and Sealine will mark the beginning of the season on December 20, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MoECC) has announced. Addressing a press conference on Thursday at the ministry’s headquarters, officials said the season will come to an end on April 1, 2023, in the south and north and on May 20 in Sealine and Khor Al Odaid. Salem Hussain al-Safran, assistant director of the Department of Natural Reserves at MoECC, said the ministry will provide the best-quality services for campers. “The Sealine and Khor Al Odaid areas are designated to hold heritage and entertainment events that will enthrall visitors during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 while highlighting the Qatari culture," he noted. Farhoud al-Hajri, director of Public Relations at the ministry, said registration for all beaches will be open from October 16 to 27 in three separate phases. Registration for the southern regions. Sealine and Khor Al Odaid will be open from October 16 to October 19 while registration will be available for the central region from October 20 to 23. Registration for spots in the northern region will be open from October 24 to 27. Registration can be done via the ministry’s official website or through the Oun application. The fees should be paid electronically within three days from the date of approval, and the applicant can cancel the request within 10 days from the date of paying the fees. The ministry has urged camp goers to preserve the environment and protect natural resources through the use of alternative and environmen-friendly energy, planting plants and trees, maintaining camping sites and adhering to the controls and conditions related to camping. These include adherence to the co-ordinates assigned to a camp and the distances between camps, farms and villages. The MoECC has also announced certain conditions, which state that the applicant must be a Qatari national. He must pay the permit and insurance fees within three days from the date of approval of the application electronically, otherwise the application will be considered cancelled. The applicant should not obtain more than one permit and must place the camp board in a visible place where it is easy for the ministry inspectors to view. He shall abide by the provisions of the relevant laws and ministerial decisions, in particular those related to the protection of the environment. Further, the applicant should start the camping procedures in co-ordination with a ministry inspector. The permit is personal and the camp shouldn’t be rented or given to anyone, and it is prohibited to use the camp for anything other than the authorised activity. General cleanliness must be maintained and the land or marine environment should not be harmed. Also, the camp must be inhabited and not neglected. Campers must stay away from government and service facilities and oil and gas pipelines with a distance of not less than 500m, or as the competent authority deems appropriate.    

Officials mark the occasion. PICTURES: Thajudheen
Qatar
Ashghal completes infrastructure works for 3,767 land plots

The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has completed the development of 3,767 land plots as part of its Local Areas Infrastructure Programme across Qatar. The achievement was marked during an event organised by Ashghal Wednesday. The northern areas projects include package 2 of the Al Kharaitiyat and Izghawa project, packages 1 and 5 of the Al Ebb and Leabaib project, package 1 of the Semaisma West and South project, and package 1 of the Al Egda, Al Haidan and Al Khor project. A briefing in progress As for the western areas, the projects include package 2 of the North of Mall of Qatar and Celebrations Road project, and packages 2 and 3 of West Muaither (Al Manaseer). In the southern areas, the served land plots are located within packages 1, 3 and 7 of the Al Mashaf South project. Youssef al-Emadi, Projects Affairs director at Ashghal, said the authority pays special attention to roads and infrastructure development projects in existing and new citizen subdivisions, with the aim of providing an integrated and developed internal road network that connects between streets and main roads, in addition to providing infrastructure services to allow citizens to build their houses in new areas, and providing developed and highly efficient services in existing areas. PICTURES: Thajudheen Saoud al-Tamimi, manager of the Roads Projects Department, said the completed phases serve a total of 3,767 plots, and they are part of projects that will serve a total of 8,821 plots upon completion of all phases. He added these projects will provide efficient and safe roads networks with a length of about 247km, in addition to 176km of drainage networks, 108km of TSE networks, 233km of surface and groundwater drainage networks. This is in addition to electricity and lighting lines and the facilities related to these services, as well as pedestrian, cycling paths and car parking. Al-Tamimi noted that Ashghal continues to work at the same pace and with the same commitment in implementing all infrastructure projects in accordance with the highest specifications and quality standards. He added, “Over the past five years, around 26,000 land plots have been served for citizens' land in new and existing areas, along with the completion and delivery of works that will serve the 2022 World Cup.” Jaber bin Mohamed Saif al-Suwaidi, member of the Central Municipal Council (CMC) - Area 20, said the works implemented by Ashghal in Al Mashaf South, as well as the six packages that are currently being implemented, will serve more than 3,200 plots and provide citizens with roads and infrastructure services that will allow them to build houses. These include traffic safety elements as well as drainage and water networks, among others. Abdullah bin Khalid al-Yafei, CMC member from Area 17, said: "I am delighted to be with the Public Works Authority at this event to announce the completion of more than 3,700 plots, 652 of which are located in Area 17 (Al Kharaitiyat), where the roads network, sewage networks, TSE networks and other services were developed." Fahad al-Otaibi, head of the Western Areas Section, said Ashghal has served a total of 1,052 plots in the western areas, including 311 plots in West Muaither (Al Manaseer) and 741 in North of Mall of Qatar and Celebrations Road. These areas have been provided with an internal road network, sewage and drainage lines, in addition to pedestrian and cycling paths, and car parking. Ahmed al-Obaidly, head of the Southern Areas Section, said a total of 994 plots have been served for citizens’ land plots in the southern areas, which are mainly concentrated in Al Meshaf South within different packages, to provide connectivity to the area through the construction of roads and infrastructure services. Hamad al-Bader, manager of the northern areas projects in the Roads Projects Department, said the authority has served a total of 1,721 plots in the northern areas, including 652 plots in Al Kharaitiyat and Izghawa, 688 in Al Ebb and Leabaib, 169 in Semaisma and 212 in Al Egda, Al Haidan and Al Khor. The works included the development of internal roads and infrastructure services, the provision of car parking, pedestrian and cycling paths, in addition to the development of drainage network services.

Dr Soha al-Bayat (left) addressing the event.
Qatar
Vaccination not mandatory but advisable for World Cup fans

  * Hayya Card holders will be eligible for medical services and testing facilities will be accessible to all   Vaccination will not be mandatory for World Cup fans, a senior Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) official has said. Dr Soha al-Bayat, head of Vaccination, Department of Health Protection and Communicable Disease Control at MoPH, said this at the 'Making Mega Sporting Events Safe and Healthy’ online event, organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) Monday. Dr al-Bayat however, recommended vaccination for the winter season and seasonal influenza and Covid-19. “Do take the Covid-19 vaccination and vaccines that are recommended while travelling and attending the mass gathering, like meningitis and measles vaccine,” she said adding that Covid-19 and seasonal flu vaccinations are the most recommended vaccinations for the fans. The MoPH official explained there will be testing facilities at fan zones and Primary Health Care Corporation health centres along with private healthcare facilities where Covid-19 tests can be done at minimum rates for visitors if they suspect infection or experience symptoms. “Hayya Card holders will be eligible for medical services, and testing facilities will be accessible to all,” she said. “This the first World Cup in the region and first during the winter. There are possibilities of the spread of flu and other viruses. Preparations are held and all the measures are in place to avoid any outbreak.There is a co-operation among the MoPH, FIFA and WHO,” she said. Dr al-Bayat said that Qatar has been making preparations to combat any kind of disease outbreak for two years and half. “We have been working in collaboration with international and local partners while chalking out scientific plans and strategy to move on with the challenges. Qatar’s strategies have been proven successful and the country has recorded the lowest rate of mortality and highest rate of vaccination coverage. "We have strengthened our plans to fight communicable diseases. We have been making plans for the last one decade and Covid-19 has further strengthened these plans,” she explained, adding that Qatar has a robust surveillance system in place to identify Covid-19 and any communicable disease spread and avoid it. “We have a well set up track and trace system where cases are traced and controlled. The World Cup will be a healthy and safe experience,” she said and added that the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 was like a mini drill and it was successfully organised in a healthy and safe environment “We want to leave a legacy that tells the people that this major event can be held during a pandemic and during a different season while making it safe,” she added.

Officials at the press conference. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Qatar
Entry of visitors to be suspended from Nov 1: MoI

* Visitor entry to resume on Dec 23 * Hayya Card holders can enter from Nov 1 to Dec 23, and can stay in Qatar until Jan 23 next year * Hayya Card allows multiple entries * Those overstaying will face legal procedures Entry of visitors to Qatar will be suspended from November 1, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) has announced, adding that visitor entry will resume on December 23. The ministry also said Hayya Card holders can enter Qatar from November 1 until December 23, and can stay in the country until January 23, 2023. The announcement came during a press conference organised by the MoI to announce the procedures and controls for entry and exit to and from Qatar through the country's air, land and marine borders, during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The director of Public Relations at the ministry and head of the Media Unit at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Security and Safety Operations Committee, Brigadier Abdullah Khalifa al-Muftah, and executive director at the Office of the Commander of the Tournament Security Operations, Lt-Col Jassem al-Sayed, spoke to the press. “Entry of visitors to Qatar will be suspended effective from November 1, 2022, and their entry will resume starting from December 23, 2022,” said Brig al-Muftah. Exempted from this decision are Qatari citizens, residents and GCC citizens holding a Qatari ID card; holders of personal recruitment visas and work entry permits; and humanitarian cases, based on approval obtained through an electronic platform. "Holders of Hayya Card will be allowed to enter the country starting from November 1, 2022, until December 23, 2022, and they can stay in the country until January 23, 2023," the official said. Brig al-Muftah said the measures are being taken as part of the competent authorities' efforts to ensure easy and secure entry and exit to and from the country's entry ports during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, according to the official Qatar News Agency. He pointed out that the MoI calls on all individuals to abide by the laws and regulations issued in this regard, and not to violate in order to ensure the success of Qatar's organisation and hosting of this upcoming football event. It was explained that if a Hayya Card holder does not leave the country after January 23, 2023, s/he will be subject to legal proceedings. During the Q&A session, it was emphasised that services pertaining to citizens and residents will not be affected by these procedures. This is because holders of personal recruitment visas, such as domestic workers and drivers, as well as holders of work and entry permits are excluded from these procedures, thus enabling them to enter the country and complete their procedures. Regarding humanitarian cases excluded from the entry and exit procedures during the tournament, the officials clarified that an electronic platform will be launched in this regard and approval has to be obtained from there. The humanitarian cases in question include death, sickness and others. Moreover, it was confirmed that the Hayya Card allows multiple entries/exits to and from Qatar, and also provides the holder with a number of advantages that have been previously announced.

Executive Director of Hayya platform at the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), Saeed Ali al-Kuwari
Qatar
Two Hayya Card centres to open soon

Two Hayya Card centres will be opened soon at the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena and Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre in West Bay, an official has said. Saeed al-Kuwari, Hayya Operations director at the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, told Al Kass TV that FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 ticket holders can receive their Hayya cards at these centres. He added that only fans who have purchased a match ticket can apply for the card online through www.qatar2022.qa Those who lose a physical version of the Hayya Card can get a replacement at either of these centres. Al-Kuwari said international fans who have already bought tickets and completed the Hayya Card procedures will start getting visas from October 1. The visas will be sent to their email IDs. “Fans are being told not to wait for the last moment to apply for the Hayya Card. Hayya Cards serve as the permit to enter Qatar while also providing access to stadiums and facilitating travel during the tournaments,” he said, adding the card will provide access to free public transportation and various activities accompanying the mega event. The Hayya Card will be considered an entry visa to Qatar from November 1 to December 23. Further, the official said stadium seats are expected to be allocated in October for ticket holders.

Dignitaries at the inauguration of the Sila Operation Centre.
Qatar
Lusail Bus Station to be inaugurated next month

Lusail Bus Station will be inaugurated next month, HE the Minister of Transport Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Sila Operation Centre. “Lusail Bus Station is one of the most beautiful among such facilities in the region and the world. The station has the latest and unique features,” HE the Minister said. He stressed that Qatar is all set to welcome guests for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 "with its ports and airports". "The public transport network in the country is set to serve the tournament. The ports will receive big cruise ships while all arrangements have been made with the airports to cater to the transportation needs,” HE the Minister said. HE al-Sulaiti added that the implementation of good practices in the public transportation sector will continue after the World Cup in line with the vision of the country’s leadership and the objectives of Qatar National Vision 2030. “We have crossed the target of converting 25% of public transportation into eco-friendly mode. Public and school transportation will be completely eco-friendly by 2030,” he noted. The Ministry of Transport (MoT) had recently said the newly built Lusail Bus Station will significantly support fans’ transportation during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The facility is ready to operate 40 buses every hour, and is equipped with the necessary electric charging equipment for optimal operations, according to the MoT, which released an infographic yesterday explaining the highlights of the bus station. Located alongside Lusail QNB Metro station on Al Khor Coastal Road, the bus station provides easy access to key landmarks and nearby facilities. It will provide fan transportation services to and from Lusail and Al Bayt stadiums during the tournament and connect them to other public transit modes. Fans stand to benefit greatly as the station is connected to public transportation modes such as Doha Metro, metrolink services, Lusail Tram, Bus Rapid Transit service and the Park & Ride facility.    

HE the Minister of Transport Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti opening the Sila Operation Centre on Thursday as HE the Minister of Municipality Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Subaie, the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) president Dr Saad bin Ahmad al-Muhannadi and other officials look on.
Qatar
'Sila' to provide integrated public transport services

With a slew of new features that integrate and further strengthen the public transport sector in Qatar, the Ministry of Transport (MoT) on Thursday opened Sila Operation Centre. The facility which will function as the nucleus of Qatar’s Public Transport Integrated Services was opened by HE the Minister of Transport Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti. HE the Minister of Municipality Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Subaie and the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) president Dr Engineer Saad bin Ahmad al-Muhannadi along with senior officials from MoT were present. With Sila Brand Management and Wayfinding, Unified Electronic Ticketing hub and related payment systems, Central Clearing house and test authority, the centre complements the work of the National Transport Co-ordination Centre and the Land Transport Safety Committee. "Sila is the latest system that benefits the whole public transport system while giving information and updates about various modes of transportation," HE al-Sulaiti told Gulf Times. “We launched Sila with the mission to bring together Qatar’s public transport modes into an integrated network, offering people the smartest choices for travel and supporting the country’s ongoing development," he pointed out. The Minister of Transport described that the Sila Operation Centre ''will become a hub for all future sustainable public transport milestones, aiming to achieve a fundamental change in Qatar’s public transport network and enhance its efficiency to create a more connected and sustainable transport network for generations to come." In the past few years, the MoT has made strides in effectively improving public transport in Qatar, thereby encouraging its usage. The initiatives included enhancement in public transport services such as introducing new modes of public transport, integration of a multimodal transport system, and launching Sila, which brings together the public transport network through services such as a journey planner through its app and website. The MoT's Technical Affairs Department director Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalid al-Thani noted that Sila is the result of an ambitious vision to connect individual public transport modes and create a sustainable future, ultimately benefiting citizens, residents, and tourists alike. Sila currently includes the metro, bus, tram, and taxi. “It’s being launched in phases and will include several initiatives such as integrated payment options, introducing new services and transport modes and promoting the public transport network through public awareness and marketing initiatives to reach a wide audience within Qatar,” he explained. Once integrated payment options are fully launched, the Sila call centre will focus on managing all 'financial' passenger inquiries related to ticketing and journey planning, among others, while the individual public transport modes’ call centers will continue to manage all non-financial inquiries. Qatar’s citizens and residents are encouraged to follow Sila’s social media pages to get the latest updates. (Facebook: @silaqatar, Instagram: @sila_qatar & Twitter: @sila_qatar).    

The team comprises a workforce of more than 14,000 people, including drivers, ground staff and operational staff members, according to a tweet by the company.
Qatar
Karwa set to serve World Cup fans with workforce of over 14,000

With a well-developed Transport Services Team in place, Mowasalat (Karwa) is all set to cater to fans' transportation requirements during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The team comprises a workforce of more than 14,000 people, including drivers, ground staff and operational staff members, according to a tweet by the company. "Qatar 2022’s Transport Services Team is all set! We're having 9,000+ drivers, 2,000+ ground and 3,000+ operational staff to offer you a seamless experience while you enjoy your favourite teams play," Mowasalat (Karwa) said, reiterating its readiness to provide transportation solutions during the mega event. The company recently held a trial run of around 1,300 buses that ran trips in and around Doha. The trial run was connected to transporting football fans, arriving for the mega event running from November 20 to December 18, around Doha and between the eight stadiums across Qatar. The initiative came as part of Mowasalat (Karwa)’s efforts to prepare its drivers to ‘Deliver Amazing’ during the World Cup. Qatar is making massive arrangements to ensure smooth and extensive public transport operations during the World Cup, which will be held from November 20 to December 18. This includes bus services, the Doha Metro and Lusail Tram. In April this year, Hamad Port received 130 electric buses, which marks the last batch of a total of 741 units Qatar had ordered for the World Cup. The fleet will be fully operated by Mowasalat (Karwa) and embedded in the country’s public transit system, thus creating a lasting legacy of clean-energy mass transit after the championship, according to the Ministry of Transport (MoT). During 2022, electric buses will be used for metrolink services. They will also be used on public transit routes that will basically operate in Doha, in addition to deploying them in Lusail City and Al Khor. There will be over 200 operational and administrative staff members and more than 3,000 drivers for the e-bus fleet operations. The fleet of electric buses comes in the context of supporting the execution of the action plan as part of the strategy to transition to electric vehicles that the ministry has developed in association with the bodies concerned. The full delivery of Qatar’s electric bus order is setting the stage for transforming 25% of the bus fleet of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 to electric.    

Gulf Times
Qatar
Lusail Bus Station set to serve World Cup venues and transport fans

The newly built Lusail Bus Station will significantly support fans' transportation during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the Ministry of Transport (MoT) has stressed. The facility is ready to operate 40 buses every hour, and is equipped with the necessary electric charging equipment for optimal operations, according to the MoT, which released an infographic Sunday explaining the highlights of the bus station. Located alongside Lusail QNB Metro station on Al Khor Coastal Road, the bus station provides easy access to key landmarks and nearby facilities. It will provide fan transportation services to and from Lusail and Al Bayt stadiums during the tournaments and connect them to other public transit modes. Fans stand to benefit greatly as the station is connected to public transportation modes such as Doha Metro, metrolink services, Lusail Tram, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service and the Park & Ride facility. The MoT explained that the station is equipped with electric charging equipment in order to secure necessary charging during operations in the context of achieving sustainable transportation in the country in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030 goals. Spread over an area of 39,708sqm, the station has nine bus parking areas with nine lanes that can accommodate 10,000 passengers a day, the ministry said, stressing that the facility is ready with an operational capacity of 40 buses an hour. The bus station has a ticketing counter and a passengers’ waiting area, along with administrative offices, a mosque and commercial facilities. Lusail Bus Station is one of the eight stations that are being set up in the country within the Public Bus Infrastructure Programme, implemented by the Ministry of Transport in co-ordination with the Public Works Authority (Ashghal). The programme is part of the provision of high-quality transportation services and modern parking facilities strategically distributed across the country and accessible for everyone easily and affordably. It’s aimed at encouraging vehicle owners to use modern public transportation systems while helping them save time and cost. The Public Bus Infrastructure Programme has been envisioned to improve services on public roads and at major intersections by achieving smoother traffic flow, less congestion and less carbon emissions while providing a significant enhancement to Qatar’s public transportation network. The bus stations are being constructed in accordance with the highest global safety and environment standards, GSAS. As part of the programme, Park & Ride facilities are available at certain locations. Free parking spaces are available for passengers, who can park their vehicles and avail of Metro services to reach their destinations.

MoI's Brig Jamal Mohammed al-Kaabi, Brig Abdullah Khalifa al-Muftah, Meta's Emily Vacher and Shaden Khallaf and other officials from the MoI at the event. PICTURES: Shaji Kayamkulam.
Qatar
Qatar joins Meta's AMBER Alert network to help find missing children

Qatar has joined the AMBER Alert network on Facebook and Instagram to help find missing children and return them to their families by publishing missing alerts. The Ministry of Interior (MoI), in collaboration with Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, Wednesday launched the missing alert service. Meta brought the service to Instagram last June after it successfully launched on Facebook. Brig Jamal Mohamed al-Kaabi, director general of Criminal Investigation; Brig Abdullah Khalifa al-Muftah, director of Public Relations Department at MoI; Emily Vacher, director of Trust and Safety at Meta and Shaden Khallaf, Public Policy for North Africa and the GCC at Meta, attended the ceremony at the Criminal Investigation Department office at Duhail. The MoI’s new step comes as part of its continuous efforts to strengthen security and public safety in Qatar, ranked as the safest country in the world according to Numbeo Safety Index 2022. Senior MoI officials attending the ceremony. The service aims to provide all available resources and options to enable society members to contribute to maintaining enhanced security in their communities including harnessing advanced technologies, utilising the available platforms to serve this purpose, and facilitating their co-operation with the competent authorities when they receive a 'Mafqoud/Missing' notification via Instagram and Facebook. The AMBER Alerts on missing children will appear to all Facebook and Instagram users within a 160km radius. Users can also share the alert with their friends and reach a larger audience, thus helping identify and locate the missing child within a short period of time, as most of these incidents occur in highly crowded areas. While addressing the ceremony, Brig al-Muftah said the ministry is keen to make proactive efforts to ensure that crimes of all kinds are kept to a minimum. "Adopting a proactive approach is what keeps Qatar at the forefront of the safest countries in the world," he said, expressing his gratitude towards Meta for the great co-operation that resulted in continuous meetings and co-ordination with the Ministry of Interior, praising the efforts of the work team, which starts from receiving the case report and passing it to Meta until its publication on Instagram and Facebook. Maj Madawi Saeed al-Qahtani, assistant director of the Economic and Cyber Crimes Combating Department, said the service is yet another effort in the context of larger and more comprehensive efforts made by the MoI to maintain the security of residents and visitors alike, especially with the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Meta's Vacher said Qatar has become the first country in the Middle East to launch the smart alert on Facebook and Instagram at the same time. Shaden Khallaf, Meta's head of Public Policy, North Africa and GCC, said that the launch reinforces Meta's commitment to Qatar and the Middle East region with the local partnership.

Glimpses from the Moroccan Fan Leader activation event at Al Thumama Stadium on Saturday. PICTURES: Shaji Kayakmkulam
Qatar
Moroccan flavour at Al Thumama Stadium as SC hosts Fan Leader activation event

Al Thumama Stadium on Saturday hosted the Moroccan Fan Leader activation event, which was attended by a large number of football lovers from the North African country. The event was organised by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) within the framework of the Qatar Fan Leader Network and as part of the promotional programmes being held for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The event was aimed at introducing the fan leaders of the Moroccan team to one of the World Cup stadiums, as well as the organisational procedures for the stadium during the tournament that will held from November 20 to December 18. The enthusiastic fans, along with Moroccan embassy representatives, were given an opportunity to have an exclusive tour of the stadium on the occasion. Nearly 50 fan leaders of the Moroccan national team were briefed on the facilities of Al Thumama Stadium. The attendees were able to get acquainted with all the facilities of the stadium and experience the exceptional atmosphere that they will live on the ground during Qatar 2022. Singing the national anthem and chanting football songs, the fans toured the stadium in a festive mood. Al Thumama Stadium will host Morocco's matches against Belgium on November 27 and Canada on December 1. The event included an introductory tour of everything related to the architectural masterpiece, including the stadium's sections, its entrances and exits, the players' rooms, warm-up rooms and their annexes, and the stands. In addition, the attendees learned about the quality of the pitch and grass. Al Thumama Stadium project manager Khalifa al-Mana, along with SC and other stadium officials, welcomed the gathering. Qatar legacy ambassadors Ahmad Khalil and Mohamed Saadon al-Kuwari were also present. Moulay Zaine El Moussaoui, deputy head of mission at the Moroccan embassy, told Gulf Times that the mission is making big plans to welcome fans to Qatar and organise cultural events across the country. “Qatar will be an amazing host and we hope everything will go off smoothly. We are delighted to be part of the mega event,” he said, adding that arrangements are being made to hold cultural programmes that will reflect the Moroccan tradition and legacy. “Thousands of Moroccan football fans are expected to come to Doha. The stadium premises and fan zones will see various Moroccan cultural programmes,” he noted, expressing confidence that Morocco will make it to the knockout rounds even though their group is a tough one, as it includes formidable teams such as Belgium and Croatia. In remarks to Qatar News Agency, Moussaoui underlined that Qatar 2022 will be a source of pride for all Arabs given the high organisational level and the huge preparations that Qatar has made in order to present a unique and extraordinary World Cup. "We feel proud and honoured to be at Al Thumama Stadium, which is one of the eight masterpieces that will host the global football event," Moussaoui added. He also wished good luck to the Qatari national team which he said will receive the support of all Arab fans, including the Moroccan community. Al-Mana said Al Thumama Stadium has become well known for Arab fans in general and Moroccan fans in particular after its hosted the final of the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021. He hoped that Al Thumama Stadium will be a good omen for the Moroccan team in the World Cup when it hosts two matches for it in the group stage. Deputy president of a Moroccan community organisation, Mohamed Adrudu, said the Fan Leader Network event is the catalyst for the local fans to get involved in community activities while helping their national team to perform well in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. “Everybody can feel the excitement here. We have a strong team and our fans will be both inside the stadiums and outside to encourage the players,” he said. Football lovers from the Americas had come together at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium recently to mark the North and South American Fan Leader activation in Qatar. Al-Mana noted that Al Thumama Stadium will host matches for two Arab teams - the Moroccan and the Qatari - stressing the significance of the Arab presence in the World Cup finals. "We are confident that the Moroccan fans will be present to support their team in the World Cup, and it will be different from any previous occasion," he added, wishing good luck to the Moroccan team. Meanwhile, former Moroccan star and Qatar SC coach Yousef Safri said in a statement to QNA that Qatar's hosting of the World Cup finals presents a source of pride for all Arabs, stressing his confidence that Qatar 2022 World Cup will be exemplary, in light of the state-of-the-art stadiums that the world saw through the Arab Cup hosted by Doha last year, which provided great indications of an expected organisational success for the World Cup. Safri underlined that the Moroccan team will not come to Qatar to participate only, but will seek to present a good level of football and compete significantly in order to reach the farthest possible point, given the historical advantage that the World Cup will be held in an Arab country and the great support the Arab teams will receive from their fans. Former star of the Moroccan national team, Youssef Chippo, said the approaching date of the World Cup increases the passion for watching competitions in general and the Moroccan team in particular, considering that the World Cup in Qatar will be different, not only at the level of organisational success, but also in terms of an Arab country hosting the major football event for the first time in history. This will provide unique public support for the Arab teams and make their players feel that they are playing on their land - an advantage Chippo sees as an incentive and a motive that will positively reflect on the results of the Arab teams, whether it is Qatar, Morocco, Tunisia or Saudi Arabia.    

Fida Fathima
Community
Football prodigy gets ready for memorable moment

Free-kick fame Fida Fathima to watch Ronaldo at FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022   Little did she know, when Fida Fathima was trying a Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick at her school ground in the southern Indian state of Kerala, that she would fly to Qatar to watch her favourite footballer playing for his national team. Young Fida is excited as she will be, if things pan out as planned, and she is able to watch the Group H match between Portugal and Uruguay on November 28 at Lusail Stadium. Recently, Fida’s video of her scoring a free-kick goal had gone viral on social media. The video shows the 9th grade student giving a little spin on the ball and forcing it to dip suddenly downward with a super-charged velocity. The goal, lauded as a ‘Rono Style Freekick’, struck a chord with the social media. In appreciation to the young prodigy, Mosafer Travel and Tourism in Doha stepped in and arranged for her a match ticket and transportation. “Enthused by the charm and energy of his football, I got a penchant for watching Cristiano Ronaldo playing and celebrating after he scores each time. I am thrilled to see him playing from close,” Fida told Gulf Times. Fida is currently studying at AMHSS at Thirurkad in Malappuram and is a member of the school football team. The much celebrated goal came last month while she was taking part in a friendly match, held at the school as part of the Indian Independence Day celebrations. The video was shared by Kerala General Education Minister V Sivankutty, who praised the girl on his official Facebook account. Taking note of the video, Mosafer Travel and Tourism general manager Firos Nattu contacted the girl’s family and made the initial arrangements. “We tried to give the girl what she deserved. We have made all arrangements and asked the family to make her ready to fly. She will be welcomed in Qatar by the football fans,” Firos said. Fida’s fascination with football dates back to her early school years. “While I was in my ancestral home, my cousins took me to the football ground and I used to play with them,” she said, while reminiscing the memories with her cousins Shiyas, Siyad and Rishan. Mansoor, a cousin of Fida, is a professional football player. Fida also owes gratitude to her father Shihabudheen M V, who serves as cleric of a nearby mosque. “I am happy to see her playing. I want my girl to get what she deserves, enjoy and achieve,” he said.    

Officials with the certificates at Stadium 974 on Wednesday. PICTURE: Thajudheen.
Qatar
974 Stadium wins GSAS 5-Star certification

The best sustainability and green practices of Stadium 974 yesterday won another international recognition as it secured the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) 5-Star certification. The achievement came in praise for the unique sustainable features in stadium design, building and operation. The certificate was handed over to the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy (SC) representatives at a function that was held at the stadium. The function was attended by Gulf Organisation for Research and Development (Gord) founder Dr Yousef al-Horr, SC Sustainability and Environment director Engineer Bodour al-Meer, Eng. Ghanim al-Kuwari, Deputy Director General, Technical Services, Mohamed al-Atwaan, Facilities Management Director, Stadium 974 and Jassim al-Jaidah, Sustainability Communications Manager. Al-Horr told Gulf Times that many features ranging from the sustainable practices in construction to the less power consumption while operating the stadium helped Stadium 974 win the prestigious certification. “The stadium has a unique cooling technology and it’s constructed by shipping containers, modular steel frame and removable seats while setting a model of sustainability,” al-Horr said. With its clever modular design,the stadium needed fewer building materials while keeping costs down and reducing the construction duration. “The seaside location offers a natural cool breeze while providing an electric atmosphere. Unlike other stadiums, Stadium 974 didn’t need a cooling system,” he noted. Al-Meer, while talking to Gulf Times, said that Stadium 974 is a symbol of innovation and sustainability and is one of the pioneering projects in tournament legacy planning. “The stadium features several sustainability models and stands as a benchmark that will set new standards in stadium development. It’s made of colourful shipping containers and it’s the first fully dismountable stadium,” al-Meer said. The SC official noted that sustainability is at the core of Qatar’s values and one of the mottos of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. “We will keep the momentum going. The green practices and sustainable initiatives will be continued,” al-Meer said. “Sustainability has been the primary focal point with Stadium 974. To receive top GSAS certification marks from GORD is further confirmation of our efforts to establish new, sustainable concepts of stadium design and construction that we hope will be adopted worldwide,” said al-Kuwari adding that Stadium 974 is also a proud example of the legacy we intend to leave from Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup. Al-Jaidah thanked the contractors and stakeholders, including the stadium management team for helping make Stadium 974 become a proud symbol of SC’s sustainability objectives. “This award is an important recognition of our goals to stage a carbon-neutral FIFA World Cup,” he said. “This is a great achievement for everyone that has worked on this project and made it a reality,” said al-Atwaan. The 40,000-capacity venue is a landmark in sustainable stadium design and construction, having been built with prefabricated and modular steel elements such as standard certified shipping containers. This reduced the waste generated during the production of stadium components and the waste created on site during construction. The use of modular elements also reduced the venue's construction duration. Water efficiency methods ensured that 974 reduced water use by 40% compared to a conventional stadium development. Stadium 974 will host seven matches up to the round of 16 stage during Qatar 2022, starting with Mexico versus Poland on November 22.