The Central Municipal Council (CMC) yesterday approved various recommendations to support the Qatar Animal Welfare Society (QAWS) after a member called for practical solutions to be adopted to house the growing number of stray animals on the streets of Qatar.

CMC member Sheikha al-Jufairi said the government should support societies such as the  Qatar Animal Welfare Society (QAWS) that take care of abandoned and sick animals. She argued that such a move would serve many purposes other than showing kindness to animals.

“The strays could pose both a danger and nuisance for the inhabitants when left loose on the streets. So, a merciful and humane way should be adopted to deal with the issue to maintain the wellbeing of the society.”

The CMC approved various related recommendations, mainly supporting the cause of QAWS, which was established in 2004 through the efforts of expatriate volunteers.

The society is a civil non-profit organisation dependent on private donations and volunteers and  receives no support from the government. It is located in a building, the lease of which expires by the end of this month. The monthly cost of keeping up the facility and caring for the  animals comes to about QR50,000.

Consequently, al-Jufairi suggested that a permanent premise should be allocated to QAWS as it is the only entity at present caring for strays  in Qatar. She pointed out that the area of the land allotted for the purpose should not be less than 10,000sq m. “The lease period should not be less than three years and it has to be easily accessible for volunteers.”

Eventually, the CMC recommended that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Urban Planning (MMUP) should study the possibility of assigning a suitable piece of land to QAWS on lease or as a grant. The council also urged the Ministry of Environment (MoE) to hurry to the aid of QAWS, especially since its present lease is expiring soon.

“The MoE should maintain better co-ordination with MMUP to resolve the issue as soon as possible,” the council recommended. “Further, the MoE should organise  regular  visits by veterinarians to the centre to ensure the wellbeing of the animals.”

Call to develop vacant plots for public use

 Vacant plots lying unused in residential areas for years should be utilised to create public playgrounds, it has been recommended. The Central Municipal Council (CMC) yesterday addressed the issue of neglected and undeveloped pieces of land – whether public or private – in residential neighbourhoods. The council noted that such places, when left vacant for several years, become a source of nuisance for residents. For example, such plots are often used as dumping ground for garbage and discarded building materials, thereby attracting and serving as a breeding ground for pests. It has also been observed that some expatriates turn them into makeshift grounds where they meet and play, causing inconvenience to people living in the area. Most of the CMC members were of the opinion that these plots should be developed for public use. The Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning has been asked to study the possibility of converting such plots into neighbourhood playgrounds in collaboration with the Qatar Olympic Committee. To do this, it may have to acquire some of the privately-held plots. Similarly, the CMC recommended that the QOC establish more cultural and social centres in different municipalities across the country. Page 12


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