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.
Brigadier Dr Mohamed Radi al-Hajri
Diversions, road closures to come to an end soon

* MoI launches traffic management skills course for World Cup    The signs depicting closures and diversions on Qatar's roads will soon be a thing of the past, a senior official at the General Directorate of Traffic has said. Brigadier Dr Mohamed Radi al-Hajri, director of the Traffic Awareness Department, while attending the ‘Police With You’ programme on Qatar Radio, said that the matter of closures and traffic diversions will be there for a short period only and all roads will open completely soon. “We know that now the main concern is traffic diversions and the traffic congestion caused by these diversions. It will come to an end shortly,” he said. Brigadier al-Hajri explained that the engineering side of the roads, which is the responsibility of the Traffic Safety Department at the General Traffic Department, is to set standards and conditions for road safety in coordination with the competent authorities. “This is in addition to preparing plans related to controlling and following-up traffic and installing radars, signal cameras and optical surveillance cameras as well as identifying places that need devices and supervision. Also, they identify spots where traffic accidents occur frequently while maintaining and developing roads in cooperation with the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) and the Ministry of Transport (MoT) and inspecting the site of traffic diversions,” he said. He further explained that there is a traffic plan to secure the safety of students, who have returned to schools since the new academic year began earlier this month. This, according to him, will be based on strengthening the field deployment of patrols at all intersections, main roads and around schools in order to manage and ensure the smooth flow of traffic, reduce traffic accidents and control the traffic on the streets. Also, the plan will be implemented based on the live broadcasts of places experiencing traffic jams and requiring rapid intervention. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) yesterday launched the five-day traffic management skills course for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 for officers and other ranks (first group). This course, organised by the traffic Awareness Department at the General Directorate of Traffic, comes within the framework of the continuous efforts of the MoI to raise the level of professional performance and enhance the capabilities of human competencies in preparation for the championship, QNA reported. The course programme includes several axes, including introducing the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the role of the General Directorate of Traffic in this major sporting event, the duties and tasks of the traffic unit, the daily work of traffic patrols, closures and alternative plans, and the management of pedestrian traffic near sports sites. The course participants will also learn how to deal with traffic accidents during the tournament, in addition to informing them about the role of the operations room (NCC-TCC) and other related topics.    

 Nasser al-Khater
Plans to ferry fans from Doha Metro stations to stadiums by bus: al-Khater

There are plans to deploy buses to take fans from Doha Metro stations to all the stadiums hosting FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 matches, a top official has said. Nasser al-Khater, CEO of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC, made the observation while speaking at a special online programme hosted by Qatar News Agency (QNA) Wednesday on the preparations for the upcoming mega sporting event. “We welcome the people of the Gulf region to their land, Qatar, for the success of the first World Cup in the Arab world and the Middle East,” he said, noting that plans are in the works to transport fans from Saudi Arabia by buses from the border area to the World Cup stadiums and various facilities in the State and these initiatives will be announced soon. The mechanism for entry of Saudi citizens into Qatar during the World Cup will be announced soon, and several proposals to implement this mechanism are currently being discussed, al-Khater added. Regarding ticket sales, the official said: “We finished selling tickets for the second stage on August 16, and a good number of tickets will be available at the end of September, especially for the Saudi public who are looking forward to attending the World Cup.” The Argentina vs Mexico group match has seen the highest demand, followed by Saudi Arabia vs Argentina, he noted. “We at the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy were sure of the high demand for the FIFA World Cup tickets due to Qatar’s geographical location close to Asian countries such as China and India, as well as European countries,” he said. From the GCC region, he pointed out, a spectator can use same-day flights or stay in Qatar during the event and the important thing is to obtain match tickets and the Hayya Card. The official said the organisers have provided housing for all fans of Qatar 2022 at prices that suit all categories, and there is a periodic update of the rates. “The prices of housing units available on the Hayya platform start from $80 per night, and many new housing units will be added to the platform continuously.” Al-Khater stressed that Qatar’s victory 12 years ago, achieved through winning the right to host the World Cup, was a catalyst for the development of the country’s infrastructure, especially various sports facilities. “We have reached a high level of readiness for the start of the World Cup,” he said. Meanwhile, he said the revenues from the World Cup in Qatar may go up to $6bn, according to FIFA estimates. On the Lusail Super Cup match on September 9 between Saudi and Egyptian clubs, al-Khater said the match at Lusail Stadium will serve as a mini-rehearsal for the World Cup, during which some special measures will be applied, most notably the Hayya Card. He added that 8,000 tickets were sold in the first hour for the Lusail Super Cup match.

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is an occasion for cultural exchange for communities: Mohammed Saadon al-Kuwari. PICTURE: Thajudheen.
World Cup delivers cultural exchange, strengthens social ties, SC ambassador

The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is an occasion for cultural exchange for communities as the tournament will strengthen social ties, Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) ambassador Mohammed Saadon al-Kuwari has said. While speaking to Gulf Times on the sidelines of SC’s Fan Leader Activation programme at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium on Saturday, al-Kuwari noted that for Qatar it’s inevitable to bring the communities together while hosting the mega event. As an official ambassador, the former professional tennis player on the ATP Tour and Qatar Davis Cup representative represents the SC's legacy initiatives including Generation Amazing, Challenge 22 and Community Engagement programme while attending various events in Qatar and across the region. A member of the Qatar National Padel Team, Al-Kuwari is the co-founder of one of Qatar’s biggest Padel clubs, Padel In. “It's a fantastic idea to give the community members on what’s going on in Qatar while helping them get information and access to the World Cup facilities. For Qatar, as a hosting country, the tournament will turn out as an opportunity to give a boost to the cultural legacy of the country and the Arab world,” he said, adding that Qatar has been working with the aim of marking a unique and unprecedented hosting that makes the tournament the best. Al-Kuwari, who welcomed the fans and the community leaders to the World Cup stadiums and SC initiatives said that the fans will be lent an opportunity to enjoy the hospitality of the region. He explained that the Arab region has proven its love towards football and therefore it deserves to be an host. “The facilities are now set to give an amazing experience to the teams and the fans,” he said. The acclaimed senior sports journalist and presenter at Qatari network beIN Sports will present the World Cup. “I am thrilled to cover the fourth World Cup in my career for the spectators,” he said. The noted social media influencer will tell stories of the World Cup.

 Supporters of Qatar World Cup and the Fan Leader activation taking part in the programme held at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium Saturday. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Qatar 2022: Fan Leader activation a huge success

* SC's Fan Leader activation programme delivers exceptional experience at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium Football lovers from the Americas came together at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium Saturday to mark the North and South American Fan Leader activation in Qatar, organised by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC). Donning the colours and jerseys of their national teams, and carrying the flags of their countries, the fans filled the stadium with their cheers, chants and songs. Fans from Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay, Canada, the US, Mexico and Costa Rica took part in the initiative. The fan leaders, along with the representatives of embassies and community leaders, were given a rousing welcome at the stadium where they explored the facilities while interacting with each other. Also, SC officials briefed them on the arrangements within and outside the stadium. “The preparations and facilities have amazed everyone. Qatar will be a wonderful host of the World Cup,” said Shane McDonald, a Canada supporter. He added that Canadians are keen to come to Qatar and watch their team play in the country. Ecuador supporter Andres hailed Qatar’s preparations and said the World Cup will be an amazing experience for fans from South America. “Our fans are set to come and watch the games, and Ecuador will be in the tournament with its best team,” he said. Another fan, Daniela, noted that football fever has started gripping the country and many are making plans to fly to Qatar for the event. Stephanie, a Costa Rica supporter, said fans will have a great time in Qatar and also have the opportunity to get involved in artistic and cultural activities while enjoying the beautiful game. Morgan Cassell, press attaché at the US embassy, noted that people from her country is one of the top buyers of tickets for the tournament and a huge influx of US fans is expected in November-December. “The US community in Qatar is excited to watch the national team playing in Qatar,” she said. Exuding confidence that fans in yellow will take over the streets, Bruna from Brazil said her team will win the tournament. “With our best team, we will outshine others and our fans will make their presence felt through their presence both within and outside the stadiums,” she said. Uruguay fan Pablo said Qatar is well prepared and the tournament will be memorable. “Our team is making all preparations to win the cup and the fans are set to fly to Qatar in order to encourage our team and cheer for them,” he said. Mexico fan Maria Del Rio said the fans are eager to watch the Mexico vs Argentina match, adding that her team will put up a good performance. PICTURES: Thajudheen An Argentina supporter present on the occasion said he was confident that the Lionel Messi-led team will shine at the World Cup. SC officials handed over mementos to the community and fan representatives at the end of the programme. World Cup legacy ambassadors Mohamed Saadoun al-Kuwari and Ahmed Khalil were also present.

The project will link the outskirts of the city to the heart of Doha in multiple ways while opening tunnels, revamped roads, pedestrian ways and bicycle paths.
Development project offers new look to Doha with beautified streets and paths

The Doha Central Development and Beautification project is imparting a new look to Qatar's capital city. The latest video by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) explains that the project will link the outskirts of the city to the heart of Doha in multiple ways while opening tunnels, revamped roads, pedestrian ways and bicycle paths. Granite pavements across 30km and pedestrian, bicycle and running tracks spanning over 35km are among the highlights. Granite slabs are meant to go along with the heritage ambience of Doha, while increasing the lifespan of roads and reducing the speed of vehicles and increasing the safety of pedestrians. Engineer Mubarak al-Nuaimi, engineering consultant at the Urban Planning Department at the Ministry of Municipality, said that the project includes the development of the B Ring, D Ring, and E Ring roads in central Doha with links that connect to the city outskirts through Al Rayyan Road, Salwa Road and Rawdat Street, Old Airport and Ras Abu Aboud. Ashghal has expanded the sidewalks on both sides of the road in several parts of the project area, to encourage pedestrians and cyclists while providing special parking for bicycles and parking for buses and public transportation with the aim of diversifying the means of transportation. The development and beautification projects in central Doha aim to create a suitable environment that encourages the public to follow a healthy lifestyle. These will be achieved by providing pedestrian-friendly transportation such as paths and crossings by linking all the vital centres in the region while highlighting Qatar's historical and cultural heritage and respect for the natural environment. The development works are also expected to remarkably improve traffic flow in Doha by ensuring better connectivity. Ashghal is carrying out multiple works as part of the three phases of the Doha Central Development and Beautification Project. The project includes a host of infrastructure works. The first package features the development of Abdullah Bin Thani Street, one of the main roads in the Doha Central region. It includes the development of Al Dostour, Al Sakhama, Ras Brouq, Dar Al Kutub, Bu Hasaya, Al Ghous and Ras Usheirej streets. Lighting poles, street furniture and traffic signals for vehicles and pedestrians will be installed along with pedestrian crossings and shared paths for pedestrians and cyclists. The aim is also to reduce traffic volume by promoting pedestrian movement besides increasing tree plantation and landscaping. The Doha Corniche development project, implemented by the Supervisory Committee of Beautification of Roads and Public Places, features connected paths for pedestrians and bicycles. There are four pedestrian tunnels in order to enhance movement and access and to link the waterfront with the areas adjacent to the Corniche in a secure manner. The walkways and three tunnels will be soon opened for pedestrians and cyclists. Al Dafna Tunnel, Corniche Station Tunnel and West Bay Station Tunnel are the ones to be opened to enhance the movement of pedestrians and connect the paths with the neighbouring places. The new tunnels are equipped with escalators and elevators for the elderly and people with disabilities. Bicycle paths enhance movement between the Corniche and Al Bidda Park, Theatre Park and Hassad Tower. The tunnels also have a rainwater drainage network, firefighting systems, and green areas extending to the entrances from the sea side. The tunnels are spacious to accommodate a large number of pedestrians.

Gulf Times
Ode to the World Cup strikes a chord with fans

* Expats' collective releases album to mark World Cup countdown.   With its melodious rhythm and merry tempo, a song by Indian expatriates’ collective supporting the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is striking a chord with fans while highlighting Qatar’s legacy. Titled Hakk Hakk Hayya, the Malayalam song was released on YouTube on August 12 to mark the beginning of the 100 days countdown. The music video, available at, features Qatar’s preparations for the mega event and the iconic locations across Qatar with accompanying visuals of fans’ jubilation, memorable moments of previous world cups and football stars. “The album is a tribute in a constructive and creative way to Qatar, while the country is all set to host the World Cup. Through the album, we make an attempt to take part in the campaigns while contributing our bit to make the event a big success. We have tried to portray the history, the present and the future of Qatar and football,” lyricist Sreevalsan G told Gulf Times Community. The album is produced by members of the Friends of Angamaly (ANRIA) Qatar in co-operation with Argentina and Brazil fans along with other expatriate collectives. Sreevalsan conceptualised the initial idea and shared it with his friends at ANRIA earlier this year. Famous Malayalam playback singer Anwar Sadath is the lead vocalist. Background score and mixing were handled by Arun Kumaran and videography by Sinu S Nair and Thushar while Shafeek XDC performed choreography. “The song is a fusion of Malayalam and Arabic music. For the melody part, we followed the Malayalam style while the chorus part was composed in Arabic style. The lines lend a positive feel while echoing the jubilation and cheer of fans,” music director Collins Thomas said. Filming and studio work started in July. Some parts were shot in Qatar while some locations in Kerala were picked. Starting with a head to head between Argentina and Brazil fans, the album features dances and cheering at various locations in Qatar including the World Cup Countdown Clock, the Corniche, Souq Waqif, various World Cup stadiums and Hamad International Airport. Sreevalsan said the album reflects the enthusiasm of the Indian community and football fans. “All were keen to take part in the album. Collectives of football fans and artists volunteered to participate while doing the pre and post production works and performing in front of the camera,” he said. Sreevalsan’s wife Ajitha Sreevalsan and daughter Amrita Sree feature in the album. There are plans to add subtitles in English and Arabic to the video, the lyricist added.

Gord founder Dr Yousef al-Horr, SC Sustainability and Environment director engineer Bodour al-Meer and other officials during the ceremony on Monday. PICTURE: Thajudheen.
Lusail Stadium wins GSAS 5-Star sustainability certification

While adding one more recognition to its credit for green practices, the Lusail Stadium has won the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) 5-Star certification. The accreditation certificate was received by senior officials of the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy (SC) from GSAS representatives at a function at the stadium on Monday. Gulf Organisation for Research and Development (Gord) founder Dr Yousef al-Horr, SC technical services deputy director general Engineer Ghanim al- Kuwari, sustainability specialist Jassim Jaidah and Sustainability and Environment director Engineer Bodour al-Meer and Lusail Stadium operations manager Tamim El Abed were present. One of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 arenas, Lusail stadium envisages planning and care for the environment while integrating measures to protect the environment. The 80,000-capacity venue boasts a number of sustainability features, including a state-of-the-art roof and water efficiency systems. The stadium’s design is inspired by the interplay of light and shadow, based on the ‘fanar’ lantern, which illustrates the golden age of art and craftsmanship in the Arab and Islamic world. “This recognition from Gord is an important part of our FIFA World Cup journey,” said al-Kuwari, adding that sustainability has been central to SC’s plans from the start as we are determined to develop venues that boost local communities here in Qatar long after the tournament. “We are very proud to receive these awards and pay tribute to everyone involved in the construction of Lusail Stadium – an incredible venue that will host the biggest international football match on the planet – the FIFA World Cup final – later this year,” al-Kuwari said. One of Lusail Stadium’s most notable sustainability features is the roof, made from PTFE – a material that protects the stadium from warm wind, keeps out dust and allows in enough light for the pitch to grow while providing shade to reduce the burden on the stadium’s air conditioning. “We are proud that this is the fourth World Cup stadium that wins the GSAS accreditation,” al-Meer said. She added that a slew of practices and measures helped the stadium win the prestigious certification. “Sustainability is at the forefront of the priorities of SC. Lusail stadium has followed sustainable building practices with recycling construction waste whenever possible. All suitable green methods have been put in place in the construction phase. Also, the stadium relies upon the public transport system while saving energy at every opportunity,” al-Meer said. The SC official added that Ras Abu Aboud stadium will receive the certification next month. “Achieving these top ratings is testament to the hard work of the project team, which prioritised sustainability features from the design phase all the way through to construction and operation,” said Al Meer. “In addition to the roof, the project site has conserved 40% more water than conventional stadium developments thanks to efficient fixtures and leak detection systems,” al- Jaidah said. “We thank all our contractors and stakeholders for helping us to achieve this valuable award, which is yet another proud moment in our FIFA World Cup sustainability journey,” he added. Al-Horr said that Lusail Stadium has set a new precedent in environmental excellence, guided by the SC’s sustainability strategy. “We congratulate the SC for advancing climate action by successfully translating green building principles into impactful practices. This is testament to the strong commitment to sustainability – which has been apparent from before ground was broken at Lusail and other venues,” he added. Lusail Stadium will host ten matches during the World Cup, starting with Argentina versus Saudi Arabia on November 22, and ending with the final on December 18, which is also Qatar National Day. Afterwards, Lusail Stadium is set to host a number of civic facilities for the local community. Any seats removed from the venue could be donated to countries that lack sporting infrastructure. Eight stadiums will host matches during Qatar 2022, which will take place from November 20. Each venue has achieved a minimum four-star rating under GSAS, which was adopted as a sustainability rating system by FIFA and will ensure all tournament-related infrastructure meets stringent environmental standards.    

Indian embassy first secretary (culture and education) Sachin Dinkar Shankpal honours Dr I M Vijayan by draping on him a ceremonial golden shawl, as second secretary Dr Sona Soman, ICC president P N Baburajan as Manjappada Qatar and ISC officials look on. PICTURES: Thajudheen.
Star Indian footballer Vijayan feted, launches summer football camp for students

Indian football team’s former captain Dr I M Vijayan Thursday launched a summer football camp for students in Qatar. Set to begin on August 1, the month-long camp will be organised by Manjappada Qatar, a collective of Kerala Blasters FC and Indian Sports Centre (ISC). The camp will provide around 120 students from various age groups with training to improve their football skills. The exercise will be supervised by Kerala football team’s Santosh Trophy head coach Bino George and led by Gokulam Kerala FC coach Suneesh. The function at Integrated Indian Community Centre, also saw Dr Vijayan being honoured. The star footballer was recently awarded a doctorate by the Akankirsk Northern State Medical University in Russia for his contribution to Indian football. The captain of the Indian national team from 2000-2004, the Kerala player made 79 appearances for India, with 40 goals to his credit. Dr Vijayan said that the doctorate came as a recognition of his efforts and achievements including the record for the fastest goalscorer in the 12th second, against Bhutan at the 1999 SAF Games. He said he is glad to receive the honour from the Indian community and the embassy in Doha and wished a bright future for budding Indian footballers in Qatar. Dr Vijayan is in Qatar to attend the final match of the Dhanaraj-AS Firos All India Sevens Football Tournament as the chief guest. The final of the tournament, organised by Sol Qatar, will be held today. Dr Vijayan noted that football always stands for good while bringing everyone together. Manjappada vice-president Jose Francis told Gulf Timesthat arrangements are being done for the camp and around 120 students are expected to attend. “The camp will be held from 6pm to 9pm in three batches of three age groups, such as 6-9, 10-14 and 15-18 years. Various Indian schools and community organisations are co-operating for the camp. Manjappada general secretary Akhil Noordeen handed over a ticket of the Argentina-Mexico match of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 to Dr Vijayan. Indian Cultural Centre (ICC) president P N Baburajan, Indian embassy first secretary (culture and education) Sachin Dinkar Shankpal, second secretary Dr Sona Soman and Manjappada president Deepesh Govindankutty were also present.

Mohan Ayroor (right), with Mammootty and Indraja in the 2003 Malayalam hit movie, Chronic Bachelor.
Longtime resident leaves Qatar with fond memories

  * Indian expat and a noted actor in Malayalam film and television, Mohan Ayroor, was active in Qatar's arts and socio-cultural segments   After being active nearly four decades in Qatar's arts and socio-cultural segments, Indian expatriate Mohan Ayroor, a noted actor in Malayalam film and television, has left the country for good with many fond memories. “I had a good time in Doha while playing multiple roles and doing various works. I am glad that my efforts paid off well and I could pursue my dreams, thanks to Qatar,” he told Gulf Times Community in a farewell interview. Mohan Ayroor and his family Mohan was born in Ayroor village in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala, and his father K P John, a military official, and mother Saramaa John, wanted him to become a government official. But little did he know when he left Kerala in 1983 for Qatar, leaving aside the dream of becoming a cine artist, that two decades later he would foray into the film industry. Once in Qatar, Mohan started his career as an accounting assistant in a private firm in Doha and later established a photo studio. Charishma Arts, a forum established by Mohan along with friends Dr V K Mohanan and Shaji Sebastian, proved to be a turning point in his life. “Our initiative later resulted in the formation of many collectives, some of which are still keeping the Malayali attachment towards arts intact,” he said, adding that year-long programmes will mark the 30th anniversary of Charishma in Doha. Mohan was deeply involved in arts and cultural activities, including penning and staging dramas in Doha. He wrote 12 dramas and acted in 50, over the years. “Still, I wanted to do something big and I was lucky enough to receive the call to play one of the leading roles in the 2003 Malayalam hit movie Chronic Bachelor," he recalled while reliving the excitement of his film debut. Noted Malayalam director Fazil’s brother Khais Abdul Hameed helped Mohan get selected for the film. “He was very supportive and the good gesture came after he got impressed by my stage performances,” Mohan said. The debut with celebrated Indian actor Mammootty helped Mohan get further opportunities in the industry. He has so far acted with leading actors Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi, Biju Menon and Mukesh. In 2005, he got a role in the Hollywood movie, The Mistress of Spices. “I wanted to break stereotypes and I could achieve what I wanted even though I had to wait. The charm of the silver screen is really enthusing,” he said. Mohan is now playing leading roles in popular Malayalam television serials including Kaliveedu. Mohan has expressed his gratitude to his Doha studio manager Krishna Kumar, who used to keep the business running when the former was busy with his acting career in Kerala, with occasional trips to Qatar. The founding president of Charishma Arts, Mohan later initiated steps to form the Confederation of Kerala Organisations, an apex body of around 50 organisations in Qatar. He was also a founding member of Indian Cultural Centre and the Indian Community Benevolent Forum. Mohan’s wife Usha worked with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) as a nurse. His elder daughter Punchiri is working with HMC as project co-ordinator, second daughter Panchami is a clinical psychologist in Kuwait, and third daughter Paurnnami is a business operations executive in Bengaluru, India.

Vehicles crossing Abu Samra land border. File picture
Abu Samra border witnesses huge turnout of travellers

The Abu Samra land border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia is witnessing a huge number of people crossing the border. Since the beginning of Dhul Hijjah, the border has been witnessing daily 8,000 to 9,000 people travelling to Saudi Arabia or arriving in Qatar, Captain Mohamed Abdullah al-Baridi told Qatar TV. The official explained that the rush at the border is due to the Haj pilgrimage season and Eid al-Adha holidays. All arrangements have been made by the Permanent Committee to Manage Abu Samra Border Crossing to receive travellers. Adequate staff has been deployed to handle the rush at the border, he added. After the Eid al-Fitr holidays were announced, many citizens as well as residents in Qatar opted to spend the vacation in countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE where they can visit relatives and friends. “I decided to celebrate Eid with friends in Dubai and I am now having a good time with all,” Doha resident Farhan Ibrahim told Gulf Times. He crossed the border on Thursday after completing the necessary formalities. "All arrangements are in place at the border where I saw a long queue of vehicles with many travelling to celebrate the holidays," Ibrahim added.

Worshippers at a prayer ground in Doha. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Qatar celebrates Eid al-Adha

People from across Qatar turned up at mosques and designated grounds in the early hours for the Eid prayer, as the Eid al-Adha celebrations got underway in the country. Citizens and residents, as well as visitors, performed the prayer at 5.05am at the 588 mosques and prayer grounds in the country by the Ministry of Endowments (Awqaf) and Islamic Affairs. Clerics delivered special sermons in which they called for love, compassion and unity. Also, they urged worshippers to keep the spirit of Eid alive while wishing them prosperity and good health. Worshippers at prayer locations in Doha. PICTURE Thajudheen “The message of Eid is to strengthen relations,” said the imam at Al the Wakra prayer grounds. Dressed in special clothes for Eid, people of all ages greeted each other and wished them well. The Awqaf ministry and Ministry of Municipality made all necessary arrangements at mosques and prayer grounds where special cleanliness drives were carried out ahead of Eid al-Adha. Al-Fazaa and Traffic Department personnel were deployed at these places to ensure smooth traffic flow, while also making sure that worshippers could cross the road safely. Citizens and residents greeting each other Saturday morning on the occasion of Eid al-Adha. PICTURE Shaji Kayamkulam Also, worshippers adhered to Covid-19 precautionary measures inside mosques in line with the recent Cabinet decision on making masks mandatory in closed public places. “Eid is an occasion to greet and meet. I spent the morning with friends whom I met at the prayer ground in Al Wakra,” said Al Wukair resident Mohamed Shafi. Another resident said this is a time to pause, reflect and understand what really matters in life. "It is also a time to spend some much-needed quality times with the near and dear ones," he added. PICTURES: Thajudheen, Shaji Kayamkulam and Shemeer Rasheed Meanwhile, slaughterhouses wore a busy look as demand for sacrificial animals was high. These were duly and adequately prepared for the occasion, with administrative, technical and health and safety arrangements made to ensure the delivery of smooth and quality services and products. Inspections were carried out by various municipalities to make sure that the sacrificial animals on offer were fit for consumption and were being sold and slaughtered in strict compliance with the relevant laws and rules. As the day progressed and the weather conditions eased, many people ventured out. Parks and beaches started receiving people looking to make the most of the holiday, while malls and indoor entertainment and recreation facilities saw big crowds. The Ministry of Municipality had made extensive preparations at beaches and parks where cleanliness drives were carried out and the necessary equipment were put in place. Beaches like Sealine, Al Wakra, Al Mamlha, Simaisma, Al Ghariya, Al Kharji and Al Farkhia welcomed families, women as well as bachelors since the evening. The ministry has urged the visitors to keep the parks and beaches clean, not to dump waste and co-operate with the authorities. Various activities and events have been lined up at Katara - the Cultural Village, which received a large number of people, including children. Among the highlights of the festivities there is the distribution of gifts among children.

HE Saad bin Sherida al-Kaabi addressing the ceremony Sunday. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
QR4bn savings in second phase of Tarsheed: al-Kaabi

Continuing to achieve impressive results, the second phase of the National Programme for Conservation and Energy Efficiency (Tarsheed) helped Qatar record savings worth more than QR4bn by the end of last year. This was revealed by HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad bin Sherida al-Kaabi during Tarsheed’s 10th anniversary celebrations Sunday. The programme helped save roughly 14,000 GWh of electricity, more than 100mn cubic metre of water, and an estimated 138,000mn cubic ft of gas. It also led to a reduction in emissions, amounting to approximately 8,500mn kg of carbon dioxide. HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs said efforts will be strengthened during the third phase of the programme, which runs from April 2022 until 2030. “More goals will be set and attention will be paid to a number of issues that touch on the core work in the electricity and water sectors, including the strategy for electric cars and work to establish 1,000 electric charging stations by 2025. Also, energy efficiency will be enhanced while work on initiatives related to sustainability will be initiated while confronting climate change and reducing carbon emissions,” he said, adding that Tarsheed has worked during the first half of the last decade according to a plan that is aimed at achieving sustainability goals in energy efficiency and expanding the use of renewable energy in Qatar in line with Qatar National Vision 2030, the National Strategy 2018-2022, the Qatar Strategy Environment and Climate Change 2021-2025 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. HE al-Kaabi highlighted the accomplishments of the programme's second phase that ran from 2018 to 2022, noting that it was characterised by increasing the efficiency of electricity and water utilisation, optimising and diversifying energy resources, and working on the development of rationalised communities and smart cities, in addition to combating climate change. He thanked the tireless and sincere efforts of all those in charge of the programme and its employees, stressing that their work helped raise the level of efficiency of devices and equipment in Qatar. Kahramaa president Essa bin Hilal al-Kuwari noted that Tarsheed would continue to work to enhance the achievements by preparing and developing regulations and legislation related to energy rationalisation and energy efficiency. “This will be accomplished while adopting the latest technologies that are compatible with our environment and prepare us for the stage of the knowledge economy and smart Qatar. We will also continue the circular economy methodology to take advantage of all elements from water treatment and the uses of smart agriculture, through the applications of electric vehicles and renewable energy, especially solar energy, to zero waste of water and electricity,” he said. “Tarsheed is considered a basis for reducing harmful carbon emissions, in order to reach the target of 8mn tonnes annually by 2030 while taking into account the social and economic growth in the country and maintaining a high level of wellbeing for all,” he added.

HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani attends the 10th anniversary celebration of the National Programme for Conservation and Energy Efficiency (Tarsheed) at the Sheraton Doha Hotel.
Kahramaa celebrates 10th anniversary of Tarsheed

Under the patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani attended Sunday morning the 10th anniversary celebration of the National Programme for Conservation and Energy Efficiency (Tarsheed) under the slogan 'Towards Sustainability and Energy Efficiency', organised by the Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) at Sheraton Doha. The ceremony was attended by a number of ministers, members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the State and senior officials from various sectors. HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior honoured the companies and winners of first places in the 10th Tarsheed competitions, Qatar News Agency reported. He had toured the exhibition accompanying the celebration, where he was briefed on the winning projects, paintings and short stories participating in various Tarsheed competitions, in addition to the Tarsheed Project 2022 pavilion. During the ceremony, a short film entitled 'Towards Sustainability and Energy Efficiency to Keep Qatar Vibrant' was shown on the achievements of Tarsheed during the last 10 years. (QNA) The celebration was attended by HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad bin Sherida al-Kaabi, HE the Minister of Municipality Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Subaie, HE the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Sheikh Faleh bin Nasser bin Ahmed bin Ali al-Thani, HE the Minister of Education and Higher Education Buthaina bint Ali al-Jabr al-Nuaimi, Kahramaa president Essa bin Hilal al-Kuwari, Public Works Authority (Ashghal) president Saad Ahmed Ibrahim al-Mohannadi and senior officials from various ministries and government entities. Al-Kuwari, while addressing the function, said that Kahramaa is proud that its vision towards sustainability, environmental development and facing climate change is being achieved through Tarsheed while fighting carbon emissions in line with the UN sustainability goals. “The first phase of rationalisation was an anticipation of tomorrow and a future vision for the development of the road map, in which work was done to formulate the basic regulations while working towards energy efficiency and sustainability of resources from electricity and water and moving towards renewable energy and reducing harmful emissions. The actual results of these efforts, as part of its second phase from 2018 to 2021, have resulted in financial return of more than QR 4 bn,” he said, adding that Kahramaa’s real achievement is to instill and bring the concept of sustainability and climate change closer to the new generation. This was done by reaching more than 1,000 schools in all its stages, as well as the change that occurred in the behavior of citizens, residents and partners from all sectors in the country, towards adopting a culture of rationalization and energy efficiency.

Mohamed Abdul Malik al-Hammadi delivers the talk at Chia Nation. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Chia Nation's weekly talk highlights unity through food and culture

Chia Nation at The Pearl Island Saturday hosted its weekly lecture, delivered by Mohamed Abdul Malik al-Hammadi on the topic of 'United Through Food and Culture’. Al-Hammadi is described as a 'multipotentialite' - a person with different interests and creative pursuits in life. His vision is to unite and connect the world through food and culture and take Qatar's authentic flavour to the world. The talk was held as part of the lecture series held by Chia Nation to encourage healthy eating habits and educate the public about authentic Qatari culinary experiences while strengthening cultural ties between people. The talk, while shedding light on the Qatari culinary legacy, its transformation and the current trends, also highlighted the diverse aspects of the art of cooking. Al-Hammadi said he is on a mission to introduce authentic Qatari culinary experiences throughout the world, driven by passion and experience. His initiative, The Cooking Academy (TCA), operates with the aim of bringing people together, and learn and enjoy the art of cooking while preserving and evolving the local traditional recipes and exporting them to the world. Food is the connecting point that makes mutual understanding possible, he stressed. “We create fusion menus having local flavours with a Qatari touch. TCA follows the mix of both education and entertainment," he added. The term Chia was adopted from the Mayan language and it refers to power. Chia Nation serves a variety of snacks made of chia seeds, which provide a wide range of health benefits. Chia Nation owner Sheikha Muneera Issa al-Thani said: “While serving healthy food, we are trying to draw the public towards healthy eating by educating them and dissuading them from eating too much junk food. Chia Nation is a place that sells great-tasting healthy and organic snacks and it promotes healthy eating habits and cultural ties through gatherings and discussions. Food and culture are things that bring people together.” Sheikha Muneera said the eatery is looking to make people, especially the younger generation, aware of the ways to ensure healthy living and the benefits of consuming organic food items, adding that Chia is a super seed with a lot of nutrients and benefits. “Chia Nation wants to serve the younger generations while making them strong. Also, it’s an idea-sharing platform. It’s a venue for people from various walks of life to sit, discuss, ask and share their experiences. We have so far hosted talks by many experts from various fields,” she said, adding that Chia Nation upholds Qatari values and the Arab legacy while serving food and encouraging healthy food habits. Chia Nation is also offering free, organic recipes on social media. It seeks to draw younger generations towards healthy habits and help them prepare such meals by themselves. The talks are also shared through Chia Nation’s YouTube channel and social media accounts. Al-Hammadi has worked in a variety of industries, such as aviation, drilling, project management and energy.

Greater flamingo, winter visitor.
Birding, a passion that connects nature

For Abdulla Paleri, weekends are all about driving to beaches, parks and remote desert areas with a friend in search of birds. While passing along the seashore, green areas and sand dunes, Abdulla cautiously watches the surroundings with his camera in his hands and he tells his friend to slow down the car while the birds come his way. White-eared bulbul Abdulla, who is working with Podar Pearl School at Al Meshaf, has completed 25 years of birdwatching while taking beautiful pictures of the winged wonders and also looking for rare varieties. And he looks to continue pursuing his passion while keeping pace with new trends in photography and birdwatching. Abdulla Paleri “For me, birdwatching is a routine thing. I look to further develop this while making use of the opportunities available in Qatar,” said the expatriate from the southern Indian state of Kerala, adding that Qatar provides a good opportunity for birdwatchers to explore. “There are birds around you no matter where you live. What we need to do is to explore and establish a connection with nature. Birds often get me outside,” he added. Blue throat, winter visitor Apart from deserts, Abdulla regularly visits Al Wakra Beach and Al Bidda Park, which are home to various types of resident and migratory birds. “Migratory birds are commonly seen alongside the Al Wakra seashore. During the winter and spring, many birds visit Qatar,” he said. A graduate in MSc Zoology from Farook College in Kozhikode, Kerala, Abdulla did his PhD from the University of Calicut after completing his research in ‘Ecology of Purple Moorhen (Grey-Headed Swamphen)’. Eurasian oystercatcher A teacher by profession, Abdulla attended the International Ornithological Congress held in Durban, South Africa, in 1997. Many articles and papers on birds have been published in various journals, magazines and dailies. Abdulla is mainly interested in waders and gulls along the southwestern coast of India and regularly monitors their arrival, habitat use and departure for many years. Also, he has directed a documentary on birds and featured many educational lessons on radios and channels. Northern wheatear, passage migrant He has authored five books on birds, butterflies and wildlife in general, and conducted several nature awareness classes for thousands of students. Abdulla was awarded a national teacher award in 2014 after considering his contribution to school education for more than two and a half decades. For the last two years, Abdulla has been active in uploading video lessons on birds on his YouTube channel along with another bird enthusiast, Navin Antony.

Patric Rozario signing the guest book at the Malaysian Embassy in Qatar in the presence of Malaysian Ambassador Zamshari bin Shaharan
Celebrating football through art

* Qatar resident Rozario's Grassroots Football Painting project illustrates the legacy of the game using 100 paintings made from coffee and water colour   With Qatar sprinting ahead with final preparations for the first-ever FIFA World Cup in the Arab world, a Qatar resident is on a mission to welcome the mega event in a creative way. Doha-based Malaysian artist Patric Rozario, through his football series Grassroots Football Painting project, is all set to lend a befitting accolade to the World Cup. “We make art to tell stories. My World Cup project, Grassroots Football is about telling stories of the beautiful game,” Rozario told Gulf Times. The project has 100 paintings that feature football and the artist has chosen to illustrate the legacy and beauty of the game by using coffee and water colour. “I wanted to keep the memory of football intact in a different and creative way. My paintings are scenes of nostalgia and grassroots football. This is where it all began - in the alleyways, villages, paddy fields and the favelas,” Rozario explained. Through the paintings, the artist wishes to have millions of people see, identify, appreciate and recognise the ordinary people and places where football is played. Rozario started the mission in December last year and has completed 98 paintings. He is looking to complete 100 paintings before the end of June 2022. Rozario, who sees football as a tool for peace building, says that sports, especially football, has long been idealised to heal wounds, mend fences, and rise above differences among cultures and nations. “Football is enjoyed by all, with its reach unrivaled. It promotes universal values that transcend language and culture. At the grassroots or community level, sport can be seen to provide a useful way of creating an environment in which people can come together to work towards the same goal, show respect for others and share space and equipment,” he said. Rozario uses coffee to paint because he perceives it as a natural dye. “I have paintings that I have created 10 years ago. They still look as fresh as they were when I painted them. I like to include ‘sustainability’ in my work. Coffee comes in different shades of brown, from very light brown to almost black. It’s a versatile medium. Coffee paintings have a sepia look to it. The World Cup is unique in many respects, with the type of opportunities and challenges related to sustainability being no exception,” he said. Sometimes it takes 8-10 days to complete a painting while some paintings are completed in a single day. “I paint everyday, even when I am travelling. There are times when I have to revisit a painting and re-adjust certain things. I put in anywhere between six-eight hours a day,” he said. Each painting, he said, will be framed and accompanied with its narrative in English and Arabic. Rozario believes that the Grassroots Football Painting project will have a long life, even after the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 ends. “I may continue to be involved in Grassroots Football project, highlighting different social issues. I want to associate with Football World Heritage,” he said. The artist came to Qatar in 2005 and worked as senior creative officer for The Pearl Island project. Now he is a full-time artist. His main works are created with gems, pearls and crystals. These resin coated works go as paintings or panels for interiors. As an artist, Rozario likes to communicate through the visual and touch medium. “It’s no secret that the art world has always had a very strong social undercurrent. For centuries, artists, dealers and collectors have revelled in being part of the cultural dialogue or participating in the perceived glamour of the art world,” he explained. Recently, Rozario was invited by the Malaysian ambassador to Qatar, Zamshari bin Shaharan ,who was briefed about the Grassroots Football Painting project.    

HE the Minister of Transport Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti.
Transportation Master Plan for Qatar 2050 to have significant economic returns: minister

Transportation Master Plan for Qatar 2050 to have significant economic returns: minister Transportation Master Plan for Qatar 2050 (TMPQ) is to have significant economic returns of about QR300bn while at the same time bringing down fuel consumption and carbon emission, and enhancing traffic safety and security, HE the Minister of Transport Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti said on Sunday. “The TMPQ features developing the transportation networks nationwide in a way that ensures their integration with land uses, urban development, and population growth while meeting future demand for transportation, and could result in a saving of around QR300bn through multiple factors ranging from ensuring safety and easing traffic movements to environmental protection," he said. The masterplan will have significant economic returns thanks to increased revenues and the benefits of saving vehicle-operating costs, saving energy and fuel consumption, reducing trip time, and lowering carbon emissions and road accidents, HE al-Sulaiti told *Gulf Times on the sidelines of the launching ceremony of the TMPQ. The minister said that the TMPQ will begin to be implemented this year in co-operation with ministries and stakeholders, including the Ministry of Municipality, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Ashghal, and the General Directorate of Traffic. HE al-Sulaiti said that sustainability is the cornerstone of the TMPQ, given the great impact this concept has on economic and environmental development, by striking a balance between the requirements of economic growth and environmental protection, and contributing to reducing climate change by putting into effect long-term initiatives that contribute to transitioning to sustainable transportation. The masterplan, he added, also helps achieve financial sustainability of the land transportation sector by covering the largest possible ratio of operating costs through executing transportation demand management policies, and public-private partnerships for investing in and contributing to building and operating the country’s transportation systems.    

Photos: Shaji Kayamkulam
Largest external 360° screen unveiled on The Torch Doha

Qatar is home to yet another Guinness World Record as the Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) unveiled the largest external 360° screen on The Torch Doha, in partnership with Sports City Advertising, on Monday, at an official ceremony attended by a number of senior officials and VIPs. “The largest external 360° screen measured 11,345sq m (112,116sq feet), and was achieved by Sports City Advertising (Qatar), in Doha, Qatar,” the Guinness World Records website states. “Sports City Advertising attempted this record to showcase the Torch building that has the screen all around it. “The Torch, also known as the Aspire Tower, has a total height of 298m (980 feet), located in Doha.”   Officials with the Guinness World Records certificate. “Various innovative advertising materials for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will be displayed on this giant screen. The screen features a 360° panoramic view,” Ali Abdullah al-Mutawa, president of The Sport Accelerator, told Gulf Times, adding that Aspire is proud to achieve a Guinness world record while continuing the AZF’s achievements. The screen can be viewed from 6km away. AZF chief executive Mohamed Khalifa al-Suwaidi hailed this achievement, which is added to the list of accomplishments of the foundation. “Receiving a Guinness World Records certificate is a great success for us, and we are proud of this achievement in launching the largest external 360° screen world on The Torch Doha,” he said. “It will coincide with the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and advertising materials about Qatar and the world will be displayed there.” “This is a great addition to Qatar’s record-breaking achievements,” Guinness World Records’s Shaddy Gaad said. “The largest external 360° screen will be witnessed by hundreds of thousands of Doha visitors over the coming months.” “Achieving a world record in this category will contribute to strengthening Qatar’s position in the record-breaking scene in the region,” he said, adding that Guinness officials checked the requirements and confirmed the record after several rounds of checks. The Torch Doha is one of the tallest buildings in Qatar and captures the spirit of the 2006 Asian Games, as it was designed to represent the symbolic torch over the course of the Games. The ceremony concluded with a dazzling display comprising a video show, and a laser and fi reworks display that lasted 11 minutes. On the occasion, the AZF thanked the sponsors – Ooredoo Qatar (Platinum Sponsor), the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (Gold Sponsor), and Dukhan Bank (Silver Sponsor).