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Excerpts from UAE Dailies

UAE, India will ink MoU to sort out labour issues

DUBAI — 07 May :India and the UAE will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to sort out labour related issues soon.

The decision in this regard was taken at a meeting in Abu Dhabi yesterday between Dr Ali bin Abdullah Al Kaabi, UAE Labour Minister, and Vayalar Ravi, the visiting Overseas Indian Affairs Minister.

Revealing the details of new MoU at a Press conference at the Indian Consulate in Dubai, Vayalar Ravi said: “The discussion with the UAE labour minister was fruitful. Both the countries will make a draft for the MoU and discuss it to finalise details. I cannot say anything more about its contents.”

“The UAE minister told me that the labour ministry is to introduce a new mechanism under which Indian missions and UAE officials will work together to solve problems of workers. The authorities here are concerned about the work force. They showed me the design of a new project of labour accommodations and it looks impressive,” he said. “It is clear that the UAE is working to improve the lifestyle of workers,” he said.

“The Smart Cards which UAE plans to issue to all immigrants will solve most of the expatriates workers problems,” said Ravi. “Even if an employer retains one of his workers' passports, the Smart Card will help the respective consulate identify the individual and issue a duplicate passport,” he said, adding that in emergency situations, the workers can use it at the airports instead of the passport.

The minister also appealed to the Indian workers against resorting to violence.

“The UAE labour minister expressed his anguish about workers resorting to violence. There are sufficient mechanisms set up by the local authorities in order to redress workers’ problems. Workers can always register their complaints at the Indian consulate. Violence is just not acceptable,” said Ravi.

Labourers to be recruited under one-window system

DUBAI — 07 May : Expatriate workforce for all construction and contracting companies in the UAE will now be recruited through a single-window system to be introduced soon by the UAE labour ministry.

This was announced by the visiting Indian Minister Vayalar Ravi following a meeting with the UAE Labour Minister Dr Ali bin Abdullah Al Kaabi held in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Ravi said: “The new decision, when enforced, will mean that construction companies will have to approach a single agency to recruit workers. This agency will work under the UAE government and handle all the recruiting activities taking place in the UAE.”

“There are several malpractices indulged in by the agents both in India and in UAE. Dr Al Kaabi assured that the UAE will tackle this problem here by introducing the new system. In India, too, we are planning to curb fraudulent agents. We are going to launch a massive nationwide campaign, especially in rural India to bring awareness about unscrupulous recruitment agents,” he said.


Intelligent cameras to improve flow of traffic

DUBAI — 07 May : Motorists in Dubai will soon be able to avoid off-peak hours traffic jams caused by accidents and vehicular breakdowns as the installation of the much awaited Intelligent Traffic System (ITS) will be operational by October this year.

According to Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), the installation of the state-of-the-art system, which helps manage traffic by quick detection of accidents, vehicle breakdown and other incidents that lead to traffic disruption and ensure fast response from police and emergency services to restore normal traffic flow, will be completed shortly.

The installation process includes the designing of the project and setting up of equipment like surveillance cameras, sensors and electronic signboards. The system will be the first-of-its-kind in the GCC, and will be a major landmark for the RTA. The project includes the installation of 30 surveillance cameras and 70 sensors to look out for incidents such as vehicle breakdown, accidents and traffic congestion. While the cameras will detect breakdowns and accidents, the sensors will detect changes in the traffic flow. Traffic controllers at the control centre will pan the surveillance cameras frequently to closely monitor the roads.

Live images captured by the cameras will then be sent to the Traffic Control Centre which in turn will send it to 45 electronic signboards throughout the emirate. Moreover, updates will also be sent to RTA’s web site, to Dalili — the navigation system introduced earlier this year by the Authority and to traffic information displays put up at major malls.

The system will be installed on Shaikh Zayed Road, Al Rashid Road, Umm Hurair Road, Al Ittihad Road, Al Khaleej Road, Al Mina Road, Airport Road, Abu Baker Al Siddique Road, and Baniyas Road, Al Maktoum Bridge, Al Garhoud Bridge and the Shindagha Tunnel.

“This will be one of our major achievements in our efforts towards providing latest and innovative solutions to ease the traffic congestion,” said Hashim Al Hashmi, Director of Traffic Control Department at the RTA.

The system, he said, will identify the cause of traffic  disruption and inform motorists of the traffic congestion on a particular road, so that they drive cautiously as they approach the disrupted area or choose another route.

“To ensure that emergency vehicles like ambulances reach accident sites in the least possible time, the system will detect the presence of such vehicles and inform the centre that controls traffic signals, which will time the automatic signals in a way that will give priority to emergency vehicles,” Al Hashmi explained.

He revealed, “The control centre for this system is being developed with the finest technology and will be upgraded regularly. We will seek the co-operation of Dubai Police to help us manage accidents more efficiently with this system.”

Based on studies conducted on the traffic conditions over the past five years, the introduction of the ITS will initially reduce traffic congestion by more than 15 per cent. In countries where the system has already been successfully implemented it has helped reduce traffic jams by up to 30 per cent. Some 1.5 million hours of driving time is expected to be reduced on an average with the use of this system, which will also help decrease environmental pollution.


Most rewarding draw for Etisalat customers

ABU DHABI — 07 May: In a major initiative aimed at improving customer service, Etisalat yesterday completed the campaign “The most rewarding 60 seconds of your life.” As a reward for customer participation in this campaign, Etisalat will give away a series of attractive prizes to lucky customers through a draw which will take place today at the Etisalat main building in Deira, Dubai. The prizes include three Mercedes S350 cars, in addition to 100 Samsung 42 inch Plasma Televisions and 1000 Samsung SGH-X700 mobile phones.

The draw will be attended by an official from the Dubai Department of Economic Development. The campaign started in January 2006 enabling Etisalat customers to update their information through email, fax, by calling the toll free number or by logging onto the web site




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