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Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Dubai family crane-lifted to extricate passport

DUBAI — JUL 23:Dubai resident Verendra Sangani never thought his family could have to struggle so hard to extricate their passports in Mumbai, where they had gone to spend their summer vacations. On Friday last, his wife, Bindu Sangani, was lifted by a crane and put into an apartment building block located on the sixth floor to enable her collect all the documents for travel.

This building, where she collected her documents from, is located next to the multi-storey building in Borivili in Mumbai that collapsed a few days ago, leaving scores dead and several injured. Following the collapse, the adjacent building was vacated and sealed by the authorities.

Verendra, who works in Dubai as a civil engineer, has rushed to Mumbai to be with his family.

In fact, his wife and their three children were staying in the collapsed building for the past couple of weeks. “They were scheduled to return to Dubai on Saturday but thank God, they were not at home on the fateful day when the apartment block collapsed,” Verendra’s family source told Khaleej Times.

However, all their travel documents, including passports, were left in the apartment they were staying in, which was evacuated, and thereby delaying their return to Dubai.

The apartment the Sanganis lived in was intact but precariously exposed to the danger.

“They broke open the window to enter the apartment and collect all the important documents,” a family source added.

“All their clothes and other essentials are still left behind in the apartment. Thank God they are safe and have managed to retrieve all their documents to help them return to Dubai soon,” the family source said.

“The apartment belonged to Bindu’s father. However, it was bequeathed to Bindu after his death. The flat remains locked throughout the year except when Bindu visits Mumbai on holidays,” the source added.

Meanwhile, Verendra  said: “The authorities in Mumbai have asked us to stay over to claim the losses. We can return to Dubai only after the legal procedures are over.”

The family has been living in Dubai for over two decades now.


Amnesty-seekers allege apathy

DUBAI — JUL 23: Amnesty-seekers have once again alleged lack of proper amenities and cold attitude of the authorities in providing information to them.

However, with the crowds swelling with each passing day, senior officials of the Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department (DNRD) said they were on their toes to make the job more smooth, with even the staff being shifted from one Follow-up and Investigation Centre to the other.

Brigadier Mohammed Ahmad Al Marri, director of DNRD said: “We are doing our best to ensure that all the applicants benefit from amnesty. Our officials are working hard. The crowd has been a big one. But right now we don’t have plans to increase the working hours at the Follow-up and Investigation Section at the Our Own Indian School,” he said.

Indian Consulate officials too said the allegations of insufficient amenities were baseless. They added that the immigration was processing the documents of nearly 1,600 people each day.

Meanwhile, the DNRD centre at the Our Own Indian School yesterday witnessed a big crowd of people who stood in the scorching heat waiting for their chance to get the outpasses and passports checked and stamped by the immigration officials. The conditions, many alleged, was difficult as many of them were not allowed to enter. There were also instances of people trying to jump the fence and enter the building out of frustration.

Said a frustrated amnesty-seeker: “The crowd has been so huge. But they (authorities) only ask us to wait. We have been doing so for hours without any proper information. Some people have also fainted as there is no shade. There has been commotion all around. We are not being provided with water. We are forced to walk up to the Indian High School to fetch water. Our troubles are far from over.”

B.S Mubarak, the official spokesperson of the Indian Consulate, said they were happy with the way the Immigration officials were working.

“It is wrong to say that the amnesty-seekers are not being provided with any facilities. Today, we took some 2,500 people inside and processed the papers of some 1,600. The rest have been given tokens and have been asked to come tomorrow. We have been continuously asking people waiting outside to leave and come the next day. But then they don’t understand. The officials cannot take in all the people in a single day. This is impossible,” Mubarak said.

The official pointed out the people were being given snacks, juices and water. “The people who are inside are being looked after. We are also distributing liquids to those waiting outside. The Consulate is thinking of requesting the DNRD to increase their office timings for this centre. Yesterday, they were supposed to work till 4 pm. But then they were working till late evening. We are getting full cooperation from them,” he added.


Water Bus for tourists soon

DUBAI — JUL 23: The Marine Agency of Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has approved the start of Water Bus service in the tourist line soon. The Water Bus will shuttle between Al Seef and Al Shindaga Stations across the Dubai Creek.

Engineer Khalid Mohammed Al Zahid, Acting CEO of Marine Agency of the RTA,  stated that the Water Bus had been devised in order to enhance mass transit modes and serve the areas that witnessed repeated traffic congestions.

“It helps in creating seamless traffic and mobility and brings about an atmosphere matching the tourist requirements of the emirate of Dubai. It comes as part and parcel of an integrated tourism set-up linked with all projects and ushers in an era of marine tourism in the emirate of Dubai” he said.

Al Zahid said that the tourist line of the Water Bus starts from Al Seef Station, which has been recently opened and ends at Al Shandaga Station in the Heritage Village which is expected to be opened by the middle of next month.

The return trip will be on the same route. This step aims at activating marine tourism in the emirate particularly on the banks of Dubai Creek which commands much attention from tourists and visitors.

He said that the Water Bus would offer its services from 8am up to midnight seven days a week. It would also offer marine excursions across the Dubai Creek. The bus has a capacity to accommodate 36 passengers and the time of a single trip is 45 minutes with 15 minutes intervals between trips.

The fare is Dh25 for a round trip between Al Seef and Shandaga stations.

“The aim of launching the Water Bus is to deliver excellent services to commuters. Customer opinion polls revealed that a marine transport mode that is both comfortable and air-conditioned is needed. Therefore, the Marine Agency embarked upon materialising this mode in the form of the Water Bus. It received the go-ahead after adopting the optimum standards and highly sophisticated  air-conditioning system that is very effective in high temperature and humidity levels,” he said.


MoL imposes work ban on 400 workers

ABU DHABI — JUL 23:The Ministry of Labour (MoL) has cancelled the labour cards and imposed a permanent work ban on about 400 workers, prior to their deportation from the UAE.

A MoL source told Khaleej Times yesterday that the ministry has completed all formalities in connection with the deportation of these Asian expatriate workers.


He avoided the doctor at all cost

ABU DHABI - JUL 23: Mohammad Ali is one of those workers who dread going to the doctor. There are two reasons for this. One, they’d ask for their legal papers — health card, work permit etc. They have none. Two, they would rather send home whatever little money they’re earning as illegals, than worry about their own health!

Ali, 40, from Egypt, had been staying in the UAE for nearly a year without labour card, visa or health insurance. His sponsor, he told Khaleej Times, had refused to get his visa or labour card issued in order to cut costs. And Ali was in no financial position to pressurise his sponsor to get his status regularised.

“I have been here for almost 12 months. I came to the UAE to work in an enterprise of developing small villas. The sponsor himself owns the company. He refused to get the labour cards issued for me and five other workers. Then my colleagues went to the Ministry of Labour (MoL) and filed a complaint against him,” Ali said. “However, I refused to be a party to the complaint against my sponsor. Yet, to my shock, the owner filed an absconding report against me,” the worker claimed.

It didn’t stop at that. The employer threatened the workers to close his company, and started delaying their wages for months together. “That’s why, and how, I was forced to work with another company illegally,” he pointed out.

So the amnesty offer came like a blessing for Ali. “For the last many months since we have been living as illegals, life has been very tough. We’d never see the doctors even when we fell sick. We took cheap pain killers and aspirins to get back to work. We wanted to save money for our poor families,” Ali revealed.

“The amnesty offer couldn’t have come at a better time for us,” said Ali. “Now, my new employer will be going to the MoL and help me regularise my status,” he said.


Plan to ward off summer diseases

ABU DHABI — JUL 23: The Central Health Education Department (CHED) at the Ministry of Health (MoH) has chalked out a programme to spread awareness on summer diseases and the means of preventing them.

“A strategic plan has been devised to educate people on how to reduce chances of diseases during the summer time,” said Hadirah Darweesh, director of CHED.

Darweesh said part of the plan was to designate nurses for schools to educate children on aspects like first aid, personal hygiene, prevention against sun rays, and healthy food. “Some 130 students in the age group of 6-10 have already benefited from the programme which started on July 1 and this will continue in the month of August,” she said.

Starting August 1, a series of awareness programmes on the importance of breast-feeding will be organised at Al Madiah, Al Hamidiya, Mushairf, Al Manama and Mizari medical centres in the Northern Region, said Darweesh.

Aside from this, seminars and discussions on unhealthy life-style and related problems like obesity and anaemia, will also be organised during July and August at the youth centres in Ras Al Khaimah.

“The psychological health of adults and associated problems such as anxiety, depression and lack of self-confidence will be discussed by experts to help young people lead normal lives,” she said.

In Umm Al Quwain and Sharjah, a number of lectures on HIV/Aids transmission and prevention, importance of children vaccination and means and ways of averting heat strokes will also be organised, said Darweesh.


Expats seek protection rackets

DUBAI - JUL 23:   Expatriates heading home to the Indian state of Kerala on vacation are stocking up on electric mosquito swatters and repellent sprays and lotions before they go.

Many Indians have cancelled trips because of the viral fever epidemic affecting a number of states. But many of those who are travelling are taking precautions before leaving Dubai. The fever, chikungunya, is spread by infected mosquitos.

“We are selling three varieties of electronic bats that kill insects including mosquitos,” said Bineesh Kumar, manager of a hypermarket in Karama. “Many Keralites are buying Chinese swatters which look like badminton rackets. We sell these products at Dh9, Dh11 and Dh15. And mosquito repellents are among the fastest moving items in our store – many Keralites have added them to their shopping lists.” The electronic swatter is fitted with batteries that create an electronic charge on its surface, which electrocutes mosquitoes, flies and any other insects that are struck with it.

Jaleel Ibrahim, a salesman at a shop in Bur Dubai, said: “You hold the handle and press the switch on the side of the swatter until the indicator light comes on. Then you swish it at insects and as they touch the net surface they are killed.” Rajan Thomas, 45, who is going to Kerala soon, said: “I have bought eight mosquito swatters because many of my relatives want one. I used to give them mobile phones and rechargeable torches,” Expatriates are buying mosquito nets – and some are snapping up lotions and gels that can be applied on insect bites.


Dubai - Divorce her or I will kill you

Dubai - JUL 23: A man threatened to kill the husband of one of his employees if he didn’t grant his wife a divorce, a Dubai court heard yesterday.

The wife is also on trial, accused of coercing her boss to help her. The husband said he got a phone call from his wife’s boss saying: “I will kill you if you don’t divorce your wife - I have the power to do that.”
Both the accused deny the charges. The trial continues.


Dubai - Reckless racer dies

Dubai - Jul 23: A man died when his car flipped over several times as he was engaged in a reckless high-speed race with one  of his friends on the Dubai-Hatta Road, it was revealed yesterday. When police arrived at the scene of the accident they called for a helicopter which then lifted the UAE national to Rashid Hospital where he died three hours later due to his serious injuries.

The accident occurred on Saturday night, when the man, who was in his twenties, and a friend of his decided to race each other down the busy motorway. Both were driving Nissan Patrols and as they sped down the street, one car hit the other, sending it into another vehicle before it went end-over-end off the road.

The other racer managed to keep control of his vehicle and escaped without injury. Teams from the Land Rescue Department and the Difficult Missions Squad from Dubai Police were called to the scene, and worked to help the men involved in the accident. “The car was completely totalled and the man was left  stuck inside,” a police officer said.

“The Difficult Missions team managed to get the man out by using hydraulic equipment to save him - cutting the car open.”  Luckily, the innocent driver, who found himself caught up in the melee, sustained only minor injuries. Police have continually cautioned about the dangers of reckless driving, and yesterday they again warned motorists not to race each other on the roads as it puts other more careful drivers’ lives at risk.

“Some motorists don’t know about the dangers caused by racing between cars on the roads. It can cost them severely and endangers other people’s lives as well,” a police officer told 7DAYS.  A Dubai Police spokesman said yesterday that the speeding motorist who emerged unscathed could well face charges of reckless driving and endangering people’s lives.


Resident stands up to courier
Dubai - Jul 23:
An angry customer is planning to take legal action against a courier company that failed to deliver a parcel.  Hani Macki ordered car parts worth Dh3,400 from a dealer in the US.

The 35-year-old Omani expected the parcel to be delivered by DHL to his home at Emirates Hills, Dubai, last Thursday – but it never arrived.

“When I called DHL’s customer service centre an agent told me the parcel had arrived at the airport and I could collect it there. Later they said the shipment had been moved to the Al Quoz warehouse, from where it disappeared.

“I’ve called them several times and officials have not given me a proper answer. Either they have to deliver my parcel or compensate me for the loss.” The package contains eight spark plugs, one air sensor and an engine control module for Macki’s Nissan Titan. He ordered the parts from a company in Miami, Florida.

“Without getting the parcel I cannot repair my car,” he added.

Ana Seixas of DHL said efforts were being made to find the parcel. She said it could not have been stolen at Al Quoz as security there was very tight.

“Like all other courier companies our liability is limited to Dh350 and the customer has to take out insurance for shipping valuable items.”


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