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Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Anti-littering law proposed

ABU DHABI — Jan. 22:Muslim scholars, police officers and legal experts have called for enactment of anti-littering laws.

Stricter penalties, they have said, will help curb spitting in public, littering streets while driving and throwing rubbish from houses on to the streets.

Eng Omar Mohammed Al Hashimi, Manager of Appearance of the City at Abu Dhabi Municipality, said the municipality had allocated Dh10 million to implement awareness programmes for the residents of the emirate. The aim is to discourage them from spitting or throwing waste and tissue from car windows.

Al Hashimi said people of some nationalities were in the habit of spitting on streets and in front of shops. This makes the job of cleaners more difficult and ultimately the municipality ends up spending more on cleaning it.

The official said a fine of Dh200-500 could be imposed on those found indulging in such violations.

He informed that the Municipality was planning a campaign against littering through the media, and posters and brochures in Arabic, English and Urdu.

The posters will be displayed at places of community gathering.

Dr Mohammed Suliman Faraj, a senior preacher at the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Auqaf (Endowments), has reiterated the need to create awareness among people on the importance of maintaining cleanliness of public places.

“Cleanliness is very important in performing prayers,” he said.

Colonel Mohammed Saleh Badda, Director, Public Relations and Moral Guidance Department at the Ministry of Interior, described littering as uncivilised behaviour.

Littering is an offence and the authorities are keeping close tabs on the violators, he said.  He has also called for increasing the number of officers to monitor and nab such offenders.

Dr Mohammed Mahmood Al Kamali, Director General of the Judicial Institute, said when he was the Public Prosecutor at Al Ain Municipality, the concerned officials used to report a number of such violations on roads. He has called for the promulgation of a federal law with stricter penalties to curb such offences.

Dr Abdulmoiem Bella, an environmentalist, has warned about the health and environmental impacts of littering.

“Spitting spreads contagious diseases like tuberculosis (TB), which, according to recent studies, is rapidly spreading around the world again,” Dr Bella said.

Besides spitting, throwing fruit shells, plastic bags and bottles on the streets is very harmful too.


Compensation for tower fire victims

DUBAI — Jan. 22:The Fortune Investment Group yesterday announced an ex-gratia relief package for those affected by the fire at Fortune Tower, a skyscraper being constructed off Shaikh Zayed Road, on January 18. The relief package for the fire victims is over and above legal insurance claims and any compensation that will be paid by the contractors of the Fortune Tower.

The families of those who died will be paid an amount equal to 12 years’ salary of the worker. For those permanently disabled, the relief package will amount to 10 years’ salary, and for those suffering from a major injury, the compensation will be one years’ salary. For those who suffered minor injuries, the relief will amount to three months’ salary.

If the duration of recovery period of the injured workers extends beyond one year, Fortune Investment Group will extend this support unless it is considered to be a permanent disability, to which it will compensate as stated above.

An official spokesperson of the Fortune Investment Group said the ex-gratia relief package had been announced as part of commitment to help those affected by the mishap.

Syed Muhammad Ali, Chief Executive Officer of Fortune Group said: “We do know that monetary relief is not a replacement for lost human lives. But we hope our support will help reduce some of the pain and sufferings of the families of the deceased and injured.”

He added: “The board has unanimously decided to pay an ex-gratia relief package. We’ll also arrange trauma counselling for those affected.”

Ali said once the tender for construction is awarded; the project development is the responsibility of the contractor and other relevant parties. “But as developers of the project, our decision on relief package is driven strongly by a sense of empathy with those who suffered,” he added.

“We’ll also ensure that all due compensation is paid by the relevant contractors as well,” he added.

Meanwhile, hospital sources said that only one Chinese patient, Bot Hn Wang, was in a serious condition and was on the ventilator.

“Till Saturday, we had two patients on the ventilator, but both have improved now,” said the source, adding that six patients remained in the hospital till yesterday, including the one on the ventilator.

“Four workers are in the trauma centre and another is in Rashid Hospital,” added the source.




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