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Qatar residents bid goodbye to Sports Roundabout

Sports Roundabout, one of the last major roundabouts in Qatar, was razed last night to make a signal-controlled intersection.

Ashghal has started work on this project and it is expected to be ready by this year itself.

Sports Roundabout

Sports Roundabout

The sculpture in the roundabout is removed and the work will start for constructing the signal, Salem Al-Shawi, Assistant Director of the Roads Projects Department at the Public Works Authority (Ashghal), told Al Sharq newspaper last month.

The project is part of Ashghal plan of works until 2024 and this includes completion of 130 projects for local roads and sewage networks in different parts of Qatar at a cost of QR59 billion.

“The Authority will complete 23 roads projects and infrastructure works by the end this year at an estimated cost of QR 1.25 billion. The Sports intersection and TV intersection will be completed before the end of this year,” he added.

As part of its efforts to convert roundabouts to signal-controlled intersections in the vital areas of the country, Ashghal has started converting TV Roundabout to an intersection.

The project works started on April 1, 2017 and the conversion of the roundabout to an intersection will be completed before the start of the new academic year.

After project completion, the road capacity for main traffic will increase by 25% to 30% and by 100% for those turning left or making a U-turn% due to adding three new dedicated lanes.

The waiting time at the intersection will also be reduced by about 50% as a result of connecting the traffic signal at the intersection with other signals on the surrounding streets.

Converting roundabouts to signal-controlled intersections greatly enhances traffic flow, therefore ‘Ashghal’ is converting as many roundabouts as possible in vital areas. It had converted earlier seven roundabouts in Cornish and West Bay area, in addition to Dahl Al Hamam, Al Markhiya, Civil Defence, Al Thumama roundabouts and others.

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Jet Airways, IndiGo resume using UAE airspace for Doha flights

Jet Airways and IndiGo have resumed using the UAE airspace for their flights to Doha, more than a week after they were forced to re-route their planes due to an embargo by several Gulf nations on flights to and from the Qatar capital.

The development came after UAEs General Civil Aviation Authority clarified today that the ban applied only to airlines, aircraft and companies registered in Qatar.

Bahrain and Saudi Arabia too issued identical statements explaining that the embargo did not apply to all airlines, according to local media reports.

The ban applies to “all Qatari aviation companies and aircraft registered in the state of Qatar”, several media reports quoted the agencies of the three countries.

Both IndiGo and Jet Airways have returned to flying over the UAE to reach Doha, the capital of Qatar. Air India Express, a subsidiary of Air India, was yet to go back to its original route plan. The three Indian carriers operate flights to and from Doha.

Since the imposition of the ban by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, the Indian carriers had to alter their routes and fly over Karachi (Pakistan), Bandar Abbas (Iran) to Doha resulting in longer flying hours and additional operational costs due to higher fuel burn and deployment of additional human resources.

Full-service carrier Jet Airways today said in a statement that it had received permission to use the UAE airspace.
“The airline will start operating on its earlier routes via the UAE with immediate effect, helping it reduce guest inconvenience as well as additional flight time,” the airline said.

Jet Airways, whose strategic partner is the UAE-based Etihad Airways, operates flights from Delhi, Kochi, Kozhikode, Mumbai and Thiruvananthpuram.

Low-cost carrier IndiGo, which operates a flight each from Delhi and Mumbai to Doha, said that it received a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) informing about the change and its flight from Delhi on Wednesday morning will fly over the UAE.

However, Air India Express has not yet revised its route, according to an official. It operates 14 flights to Doha from Kozhikode, Mangalore and Mumbai.

The restrictions on use of airspace came while nine countries — Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Mauritius, Mauritiana, Yemen, Libyas eastern-based government and the Maldives — severed diplomatic ties with Qatar last week. PTI JC IAS SMN

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4000 cows to be flown to Qatar to ensure fresh milk supply


* The biggest bovine airlift in history
* Fresh milk production will start by the end of the month and will eventually cover a third of Qatar’s demand by
* 4,000 cows arriving on 60 flights
* Cost of shipping the animals amounts to $8mn

The rift between Qatar and its neighbours has prompted one Qatari businessman to fly 4,000 cows to the Gulf country in an act of resistance and opportunity to fill the void left by a collapse in the supply of fresh milk.
It will take as many as 60 flights for Qatar Airways to deliver the 590kg beasts that Moutaz al-Khayyat, chairman of Power International Holding, bought in Australia and the US. “This is the time to work for Qatar,” he said.
The blockade that started on June 5 has forced Qatar to open new trade routes to import food, building materials and equipment for its industry. The central bank said domestic and international transactions were running normally.

Turkish dairy goods have been flown in, and Iranian fruits and vegetables have also arrived. There’s also a campaign to buy home-grown produce. Signs with colours of the Qatari flag have been placed next to dairy products in stores. One sign said, “Together for the support of local products.”

“It’s a message of defiance, that we don’t need others,” said Umm Issa, 40, a government employee perusing the shelves of a supermarket before taking a carton of Turkish milk to try. “Our government has made sure we have no shortages and we are grateful for that. We have no fear.”

Most of the fresh milk and dairy products for Doha’s population came from Saudi Arabia up until a week ago. That supply is affected after the kingdom and some other countries cut transport links with Qatar.

Al-Khayyat, whose main business is a construction firm, had been expanding the company’s agricultural business at a farm 50km north of Doha. Food security is part of Qatar’s government strategy to steer the economy away from petrodollars, known, like in Saudi Arabia, as ‘Vision 2030’.

On a site covering the equivalent of almost 70 soccer fields, new grey sheds line two strips of verdant grass in the desert with a road running through the middle up to a small mosque. It produces sheep milk and meat and there were already plans to import the cows by sea. Then the blockade started, so the project was expedited.

Fresh milk production will now start by the end of the month rather than September and will eventually cover a third of Qatar’s demand by mid-July, al-Khayyat said at his office in Doha. Facilities for the Holstein cows are ready, though the company will take a hit on the shipping cost for the animals, which increased more than five times to $8mn.

“No one in his daily life feels a crisis,” al-Khayyat said. “The government is working very hard to ensure there’s no effect.”

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Iran flies food to Qatar; plans to send 100 tonnes of fruit and vegetable every day

Iran has sent four cargo planes of food to Qatar and plans to provide 100 tonnes of fruit and vegetable every day, Iranian officials said.

“Following the sanctions … on Qatar, IranAir has so far transported food and vegetables to this country by four flights,” Shahrokh Noushabadi, head of public relations at Iran’s national airline, was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.

The head of the industries, business and trade organization in the Fars province was also quoted by the Tasnim news agency as saying on Sunday the first planes carrying food to Qatar had flown from the southern city of Shiraz.

“Every day we will export 100 tonnes of fruits and vegetables to Qatar,” Ali Hemmati said.

An Iranian diplomat in Doha said three cargo planes from Iran were landing in Qatar each day, bringing mostly fruit and vegetables. The diplomat also said small boats were bringing some less perishable produce.

“Dozens of Iranian businesses are ready to help Qatar with more goods if they are needed,” the diplomat said.

The head of Iran’s livestock exporters said on Sunday they had exported 66 tonnes of meat to Qatar in the last two days.

“We will also be sending 90 tonnes of meat in the coming week,” Fars quoted Mansour Pourian as saying.

Iran has called for the two sides to overcome their differences.

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Qatar business community to provide ‘all necessary needs’

Qatar Chamber has assured that the country’s business community “would exert all possible efforts” to provide “all necessary needs,” including food items and building materials “for all citizens and residents.”

The statement was raised during an emergency meeting called by the chamber’s board of directors on Thursday. Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani presided over the meeting.

During the meeting, the board also announced that it will hold an expanded meeting Sunday with companies importing foods and other concerned authorities like Mawani Qatar and Qatar Airways.
The meeting will discuss mechanisms to tackle “all obstacles facing food companies” and to find solutions for the ease of movement of goods and commodities. Also, another meeting will be held with companies importing primary materials, including Qatar Primary Materials Company and other firms that import building materials.

The board of directors also issued a decision to form a coordinating committee comprising members of the board to determine “all the obstacles faced by businessmen and traders during the process of importing goods.” The chamber said the committee will be a link between businessmen and the Ministry of Economy and Commerce.

“Any obstacles in the process of importing goods of all kinds can be communicated to the committee through 24/7 hotlines 3321 7886 (look for Yahya) and 55305515 (Ahmed), or through [email protected] and [email protected] It aims at determining importing obstacles and ensuring the ease release of goods into the Qatari market,” Qatar Chamber said.

During Thursday’s meeting, the board expressed “its deep sorrow over the diplomatic crisis and the decisions taken by Saudi Arabia, UAE, and the Kingdom of Bahrain against Qatar.”
“This act contradicts the regional and international charters and conventions. The board assures the chamber’s keenness and commitment to support the wise leadership. It also affirms the leadership’s ability to overcome the situation thanks to its wisdom and the confidence of the Qatari people.

“The board confirms the ability of the national economy to defeat this siege, and assures that business sectors and Qatari businessmen would exert all possible efforts to provide all necessary needs, including food items and building materials for all citizens and residents,” Qatar Chamber said.

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More dairy products reach from Turkey

Adequate quantities of fresh dairy products have been imported to Qatar so as to meet the daily demands of the residents, many retailers disclosed. Moreover, the price is lesser than the products that were available in the market earlier.

Dairy products from Turkey reached by air on Thursday evening and the supplies reached the retail outlets early morning yesterday. They included fresh milk, laban and yogurt among others. Milk is sold at QR5 per litre, said to be the lowest ever in the country.
An official from Safari Mall said that enough quantity of milk to sell through the day was available at the outlet yesterday. “We got milk and other products yesterday morning. The quality is very good and the price is more attractive. We have enough quantities of these products for every customer,” he said.

“From tomorrow, we will have more of these products. Our customers are very happy about the quality of these products. Above all, the price is also more attractive than the prevailing one. With the regular supply of these products everything is normal about the entire range of food supply in the country. Presently we have enough stock of eggs that can last for a minimum of 10 days and our next consignment of eggs will reach in two days,” he added.

A senior official from Family Food Centre noted that with the arrival of dairy products from Turkey, there are sufficient quantities in the market. “The entire market scenario looks better. We have all the products for the customers and our shelves never have been empty so far. Whatever dairy products we have got so far, is good enough for us to cater to our customers now,” he explained.

“We have also starting receiving fresh chicken from Oman from Thursday. We already have enough stock of eggs and the entire situation has become quite normal. There was also more import of vegetables into the country in the recent days and the quantity of tomatoes that reached yesterday was an all-time high,” he added.

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Advisory for Indian Nationals in Qatar

With the ongoing diplomatic crisis, the Indian Embassy in Qatar on Wednesday issued an advisory assuring the Indians of their safety.

Here is the full text of the advisory released by the Indian Embassy in Qatar :

Advisory for Indian Nationals in Qatar

On 5th June 2017, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt announced that they were cutting diplomatic relations with the State of Qatar, along with closure of air/sea/land travel links with the State of Qatar. These countries also have ordered their citizens to leave Qatar, in addition to ordering Qatari citizens to leave their territories. Subsequently Maldives, Yemen, Mauritius, Mauritania and Jordan took similar steps. Air connectivity provided by several airlines between these countries has been disrupted, as a result of cancellation of a number of flights. The airlines concerned have reportedly offered refunds for tickets booked on these cancelled flights. Indian travelers are, therefore, requested to contact their travel providers for advice on modifications to their travel arrangements and also remain alert to further developments. The Embassy of India is monitoring the situation closely and is in touch with the Qatari authorities to ensure the safety and security of Indian nationals in Qatar.

The Qatari authorities have conveyed that they will take all necessary steps to ensure that normal life, including supplies of food items, is not affected. There is nothing happening in the region that suggests any threat to the physical safety and security of residents in Qatar. Please update yourself of the latest news and do not believe in rumours without cross-checking facts. The Embassy will be providing updates on its Twitter handle [@IndEmbDoha] from time to time as required.

The Embassy of India, Doha, located at Villa Nos. 86 & 90, Street No. 941, Al Eithra Steet, Zone-63, Onaiza, Doha, can be reached through any of the following:

Email: [email protected]
Tel. No. during Office hours: 44255777
Tel. No. after Office hours: 55575086
Indian Cultural Centre (ICC): 50536234
Indian Community Benevolent Forum (ICBF): 55512810, 55532367, 55342708
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook [India in Qatar]

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Hypermarkets increase direct imports from several countries

Leading hypermarkets in the country have taken steps to bolster the stock of fresh food items as well as other food products. Most of them said that fresh food items from a number of countries will reach from Thursday.

Quality Group has decided to increase the direct import of food and consumer goods, especially fresh food items by air from a number of countries in Asia, Europe and the Far East. Several of these items from many countries will reach the country within a few days.

The move will increase the import of different varieties of fruits, vegetable, cereals, raw food, meat, egg, chicken, meat and other consumer goods from different countries and will ensure smooth and uninterrupted supply of products through its retail outlets in the country.

“We are planning to increase our food imports especially fresh food items like vegetables, fruits, sea food and poultry products from the producers in Asia, Europe and the Far East countries,” Shamsudheen Olakara, chairman of Quality Group said.

He described the market situation in Qatar as normal and prices within the stable limit. “We can assure our customers smooth and uninterrupted supply of most food items for two-three months with our present stock. Through Qatar Foods, Quality Fruits & Vegetables, Middle East Importers, Quality Foods & Services as well as our wholesale divisions, we are ready to serve the people with sufficient products for the coming months through increased direct import,” he explained.

“Import of food and other necessities to Qatar, will progress as usual. All measures are taken to ensure quality of the imported fruits, vegetables and other food items as well as more quantity,” Olakara added.

A Safari Mall official said that they are getting fresh fruits and vegetables from Oman and Iran.”More supplies will reach in a few days and we will be able to meet any demand for fresh food items.”

An official from Family Food Centre said that fresh chicken from Oman will start arriving from today. “We also have contacted many other distributors from several countries including Turkey and will have enough quantity of fresh food items to meet the demand,” he added.


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Enough food stocks for 12 months: Qatar Chamber

Qatar has stocks of food and other consumer goods which is enough for next 12 months, said Chairman of Qatar Chamber (QC), Shiekh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani. There will be no shortage of food items and other materials as over 95 percent of Qatari imports come through the air and sea, he added.

QC held a meeting which was attended by more than 40 major food supplies importer companies.

The meeting has come as part of the Qatar Chamber’s efforts to facilitate any procedures related to food consumer goods in light of the latest development of severance of ties with neighbouring countries and border closure. The meeting resulted in formation of a joint committee from the representatives of the major food importing companies and QC.

Qatar Chamber meeting attended by 40 major food supply importer companies.

Qatar Chamber meeting attended by 40 major food supply importer companies.

“The recent development has required the importers of food supplies from these three countries to sign contracts with other suppliers,” said QC yesterday in a press statement.

The meeting discussed the alternative sources for the importers, as many of these importers have already signed agreements with other partners to ensure flow of food consumer goods. Attendees assured that they have enough strategic stock of food stuff and they have variety of sources, and the local market will not be affected and they are ready to put all their stocks under the State.

Food items are available enough in the market and there is no shortage, and the impact of this development will be negative for traders of those counties which have lost the Qatari market, while the Qatari importers have many other alternatives.

QC said that it is going to facilitate any difficulties being faced by importers in collaboration with the competent authorities.

Shiekh Khalifa, Chairman of QC, expressed his regrets for the steps taken by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to sever their ties with Qatar and close their borders and air space. Over 95 percent of Qatari imports come through the air and sea, and the Qatari private sector has contracts with suppliers in many countries and able to provide with the needs in competitive prices, Sheikh Khalifa said, adding that the losers were the exporters in the above mentioned three countries.

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Exchange houses record spike in remittances

Exchange houses in Doha recorded on Monday a spike in outward remittances, and they are expecting “high transaction activities” to continue this week, according to industry sources.

A senior official of an exchange house told Gulf Times that as much as 60% of transactions last Monday were made by Indian expatriates.

“The volume of transactions last Monday in our exchange was almost four times higher than the normal daily average. At least 60% of remittances were sent to India, and 20% were sent to the Philippines; another 20% comprised of other countries put together,” he explained while observing that “high transaction activities” are expected to continue throughout the week.
Another exchange house said many people flocked to their shop in the afternoon and had to extend operating hours to cater to the volume of customers.

“We had to work for an extra hour just to accommodate the large number of people that were sending remittances. Unofficially, we extended business hours in the evening for that day,” a senior manager said, adding that exact figures and the volume of transactions will be clearer by the end of the week.

An exchange house official also said there was only “a slight increase” in the volume of remittance outflow from Qatar from January to May 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.
“There was only a slight increase in the first five months of 2017 compared to the same period last year although we were able to reach the same level of business this year,” he pointed out.
In the first week of Ramadan, transactions to the Arab corridor were “10% to 15% less” compared to the same period last year due to “many factors,” he also said.

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