NEWS FROM THE UAE
Excerpts from UAE Dailies
Student dies after being hit by car
DUBAI — March 18: A 21-year-old Indian student was killed in a hit-and-run accident near Al Khaleej Centre in Bur Dubai yesterday.
The victim, Aditya Subramaniam, a third-year mechanical engineering student of BITS-Pilani in Dubai’s Knowledge Village, reportedly died in the ambulance while being rushed to Rashid Hospital.
Eyewitnesses told Khaleej Times the accident occurred at about 1.30am yesterday. “A white four-wheeler hit Aditya while he was on a zebra crossing near a traffic signal.
“The vehicle, which seemed to be speeding, did not even slow down after knocking down the youngster,” they added.
The police and an emergency medical unit reached the spot shortly after being informed of the accident. Aditya was rushed to hospital but was declared brought dead on arrival.
A BITS-Pilani source, quoting the victim’s room-mate and a co-student, said: “Aditya, who had been staying in Bur Dubai along with some friends, was preparing for his college examinations.
Yesterday, early morning, he went out with his room-mate, Ranjith, to have some snacks. But on his way to the eatery, he was hit by the four-wheeler.”
Ranjith, when contacted by Khaleej Times, was too overwrought to give any details of the accident. He said: “I just cannot talk about it. I am too shocked, it is unbelievable.”
Meanwhile, Venkitesh, a victim’s family friend, said: “Aditya’s parents, who reside in Abu Dhabi, still find it unbelievable that their only son is no more. Both his parents and his sister are unable to come to terms with the tragedy.”
Aditya’s body is in the police morgue and it will be taken to India for conducting the last rites — as soon as local police and procedural formalities have been completed.
The Dubai Police are investigating the incident.
Abu Dhabi conducts family budget survey
ABU DHABI — March 18: Abu Dhabi is conducting a comprehensive family budget survey involving 5,040 families, in a move aimed at drawing up various plans and programmes for better socio-economic development in the country.
The survey, say sources, will cover 1,741 UAE national families, 2,399 expatriate families and 900 families (who have more than one breadwinner) in the emirate.
It is being carried out as per the directive of General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Executive Council.
The survey will collect statistical data that helps define and outline common patterns of consumption and expenditure, the cost of living, housing conditions, average family and individual incomes and their average spending and consumption patterns.
In addition, it will also provide data about family demographics and various economic and social characteristics.
Butti Ahmed Al Qubaisi, Assistant Under-Secretary of the Department of Planning and Economy, which will conduct the survey in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme, said a family’s expenditure pattern is difficult to research and analyse and it might take over two years to complete this aspect of the survey.
The survey also aims at examining linkages between average incomes of families and individuals and the influence of factors such as educational qualifications, profession and economic activity, he added.
Al Qubaisi said the survey will be conducted in three phases and its results will be analysed and evaluated by experts before being submitted to the authorities concerned.
Peeping Tom lands in jail
DUBAI — March 18: A 21-year-old Arab expatriate has been sentenced to three months in jail followed by deportation for watching a 23-year-old Russian woman undress in the restroom of a cafe.
According to court records, the woman, identified as SHK, went to a women’s toilet at a cafe in Dubai. While she was using the toilet, she was shocked to find a man watching her over the partition separating the toilet from the next one. She cried for help immediately.
The police were informed and the culprit was later referred to the court, which found him guilty of entering the women’s toilet and sentenced him to three months in prison
Fish rates up, veg prices down
ABU DHABI — March 18: Inclement weather conditions experienced by the country over the past two days have pushed prices of fish at Mina market in Abu Dhabi to new heights.
However, to the relief of consumers, prices of vegetables and fruits have seen a marked decline as most residents stayed indoors.
Mamo Koti, an Indian fish trader, said that the fish catch was very low because the bad weather and strong winds kept the majority of fishermen away from the sea.
He noted that yesterday saw a good turnout of consumers after the improvement of weather conditions although prices were still high.
He explained that the price of a kilogramme of Hammour reached between Dh18 and Dh20, while Sheri was priced at Dh10 and Dh6 a kilo depending on the size.
Ahmed Al Nuzhi, a resident, observed that the quality of fish was not up to the mark. “Prices were high... I came to the market but unfortunately I could not buy anything due to the small quantity of fish available. Shrimp prices have gone up from Dh75 a kilogramme to Dh85. Mullet (deyah) is priced between Dh15 and 20,” he added.
Majed Isa, a national, said the fish available in the market was not fresh.
On the contrary, the prices of vegetables and fruits have gone down since residents stayed put in their houses due to the sandstorm.
Nadim Al Qaderi, a trader, said large quantities of vegetable and fruits have gone rotten because of lack of customers.
Traders, he noted, were forced to reduce prices to attract buyers. The price of a box of orange, for example, went down from Dh20 to Dh15, apple from Dh25 to Dh20 and mandarin (Lebanon) from Dh22 to Dh18.
He indicated that most trucks coming from Lebanon, Syria and Jordan refused to unload their consignments because of the rough weather.
He called for establishing an indoor market to display products during all seasons so that traders are not affected by bad weather conditions.
Sewage accumulating in Dubai labour camps
DUBAI — March 18: Sewage is apparently accumulating in labour camps in the city because tankers hardly come on time to collect the waste.
Earlier, several tankers used to collect sewage from camps and dump them at the Al Aweer Plant at least 10 to 12 times a day.
But now the vehicles make only two to three trips per day as the plant, undergoing repair work, is currently keeping open only five to seven points for dumping the waste, according to officials of private companies which operate such services.
Earlier, tankers had access to around 40 dumping points, they say, adding that the vehicles have to wait in queues for a long time owing to a shortage of disposal points and hence, they cannot go to labour camps as frequently as they used to in the past.
“The city has a proper drainage system. The sewage normally flows from various parts of the city directly through sewage pipes to the treatment plant. But this is not the case with labour camps. They hire trucks or tankers which collect the sewage and then dump it at the plant. There are hundreds of labour camps in Al Quoz, Mirdiff and Sonapur,” said Jaffar, an official of a company operating these tankers.
Explaining why the frequency of tankers collecting sewage from labour camps has been reduced, he said, “Earlier, there were 40 points where tankers used to dump the waste. It would take just 20 minutes for 40 vehicles to dispose of the sewage. As a result, there was no delay and tankers could make more than 10 trips a day.
“But now the scenario has changed. With a lot of sewage coming to the plant through pipes from the city, the plant has closed down several points for tankers. The rest of the points are being used just for the sewage coming in from the city. Now, there are hundreds of trucks which stand in long queues for hours. So the number of trips to camps has gone down,” he added. Sometimes there is a delay that continues for a number of days as a result of which sewage accumulates in labour camps, officials say.
The Dubai Municipality has just two sewage treatment plants — one in Al Aweer and the other in Jebel Ali.
“The number of labour camps in Jebel Ali is double that in Al Quoz and other places. Moreover, all the sewage from residential areas like Gardens, Greens, big shopping malls, Media City, Knowledge Village and Dubai Marina are dumped there. So it is completely packed,” said an official.
As Walter D’souza, manager of the Veksons Real Estate Camp, which provides accommodation to as many as 12,000 labourers, put it, “The conditions are quite terrible.
The camp is producing 600,000 gallons of waste daily. And we need disposal trucks every hour for this.
“Municipality inspectors often inspect the camp and fine us for unhygienic conditions. But this is the actual constraint. We spoke to the Drainage Section and they said the plant was running at half capacity as some repair works are on. The need of the hour is another treatment plant.
The camps should be also connected through an internal drainage system,” he said.
Talib Abdulkareem Julfar, Director of the Drainage and Irrigation Department, was not available for comments. But a source said,
“We have signed an agreement with the Al Serkal Group to run the Al Aweer Plant.
It will be operational by July and will solve all the problems.”
Dubai - Family seeks a pardon
Dubai - March 18: The family of a man who stabbed his own brother-in-law to death in broad daylight said they would appeal for his pardon from jail after he was sentenced to ten years in prison. The murderer will be deported after serving his sentence at a Dubai prison. Haridas brutally murdered his brother-in-law Manoharan last October while he was eating lunch at the Triveni restaurant in Deira.
An ongoing family feud led to the killing, according to court documents released during the trial. Lawyers representing Haridas told 7DAYS that they are now seeking a reduction in his sentence, which was announced last week, or even a pardon since Haridas’ sister - the victim’s wife - has now agreed to back that.
“We need a pardon from the victim’s wife and mother. In this case the victim’s wife is also the sister of the accused. She has agreed to a pardon so now we need an approval from Manoharan’s mother,” said AK Shansudeen, legal consultant for Haridas. Haridas has two brothers in Dubai who are fighting a legal battle to save him from sitting out his sentence for the next ten years.
Speaking to 7DAYS, one of the brothers said that they are not disheartened by the judgement and will certainly appeal against the sentence. “Whatever happened was tragic. However his sister and her children now need to be taken care off and he can do that, but not while he is locked up in prison. “If he was free he could provide them with the money they need to continue with their lives. “We have to move on and I believe she understands that,” said one of the brothers. The family are holding lengthy discussions with Manoharan’s mother seeking a pardon from her. However, it is still not clear if the mother would forgive her son’s murderer.
Close relatives of the family said that Manoharan was the sole breadwinner of an ‘extremely poor family’ and his 60-year-old mother used to survive back in India just on the money sent by him. The 35-year-old Manoharan worked as a driver at a flower shop in Dubai and was very close to his relative until they developed differences which culminated in the murder.
Dubai - Warning to motorists
Dubai - March 18: General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Interior, urged motorists to pay more attention to avert unnecessary loss of lives. In a statement on the occasion of the 23rd GCC Traffic Week, Sheikh Saif said road safety was not the responsibility of the government planners alone but also that of motorists.
He said: “It is true that road engineering and design is the responsibility of the Ministry of Interior, but motorists also have the responsibility of sparing unnecessary loss of lives by maintaining vigilance.”
Dh 5 for a photo with the ‘World’s Tallest Wrestler’
DUBAI - March 18: Deira residents have been witnessing a walking, talking mountain… of a man. He calls himself the ‘World’s Tallest Wrestler’ and has been touring the crowded streets, charging Dh 5 from people who would like to take a picture with him.
Muhammad Riaz (41), is a Pakistani national and claims to be a former wrestler in Japan. Speaking to the Evening Post, Muhammad says that he is more than 7.6ft tall, the World’s Tallest Wrestler approved by the Japan Wrestling Federation. Muhammad has been in the UAE for the past two months now and is presently employed as a Security Officer with the United Hyper Market in Deira, near the Dubai Cinema.
On the legality of him charging people money for pictures, despite having a job, Muhammad is clueless for now. “My wonderful height and strength are the reasons I was recruited for the security job,” he says proudly. With his family staying in Pakistan and earning very little, Muhammad says he was forced to come up with the idea of using his unique looks to supplement his income.
So far, it has been working like a charm. People are eager to pay to have their picture taken with many on-lookers following him around, attracting others to the business. Hyder Ali, a computer operator at Omega Engineering Company, says, “It is great having a picture with such a wonderful man. This is the first time I have encountered a person of his height.”