NEWS FROM THE UAE
Excerpts from UAE Dailies
Dh700,000 diya given to Indian family killed in accident last year
DUBAI — APRIL 08: A UAE national accused of a ghastly accident handed over a cheque for Dh700,000 on Friday to the relatives of an Indian family killed in a road accident last year.
This followed a verdict issued by the Sharjah traffic court last month directing the accused to pay diya (blood money), advocate Ibrahim Abdullah Al Ali, of Consolidate Advocates, said.
The 40-year-old Sreedharan Pillai Saseedharan Nair, wife Jaisree and two children — Vignesh, 7, and Vivek, 3, — were killed on October 14 when their car was hit by two cars on the Sharjah Airport Road.
The car the family was travelling in was struck by one car on the fast lane forcing it to move to the next lane where another car rammed into the family car. The family’s car had hit the divider and rolled over to the other side of the road killing the parents on the spot.
The two children died on their way to hospital.
The family was on their way back from a weekend picnic when the accident occurred.
Relatives of the victims based in Sharjah filed a case against both drivers through Salam Pappinissery of Consolidated Advocates.
Apart from the blood money, the first accused was asked to pay Dh10,000 fine and an additional Dh200 for not wearing a seatbelt.
His licence was also cancelled for a period of one year.
The second accused was fined Dh1,000 for speeding.
Indian schools facing shortage of textbooks
DUBAI — APRIL 08: Parents of children studying in Indian schools complained of shortage of text books.
Even though classes for grades one to five started a week ago, a large number of students have failed to get their text books, either from school or the book shops, parents say, blaming lack of coordination between the schools and book shops on exact requirement for text books.
While the school official said the book shortage was a common problem faced by students in the first month of the new academic year, book shops complain of lack of proper information from the schools on the exact requirement of books.
Ashok Kumar, principal of the Indian High School, Dubai, said most Indian schools are facing the problem of shortage of text books.
Book shops place limited orders to avoid dead stock, he said adding most schools face the crisis only in the initial months. Kumar also pointed out that short supply of text books was also due to a big rise in the number of Indian schools in the country.
Kumar said: “In our school, the supervisors have been instructed to provide students with photocopy of one chapter in each subject free of cost to the students until problems in the supply of textbooks are fixed.”
We are aware of the shortage, he said, adding the school does not reprimand students for not possessing text books. Parents are panicking unnecessarily, he noted.
Kumar said the ministry bars schools from forcing parents to purchase text books from the school or any particular book shop. Meanwhile, parents whose children study at IHS, Dubai have urged schools to maintain enough stocks of text books either at school or with the book shops.
Nasser, a parent, said: “I have visited three different bookstalls to buy the text books. But all of them reported no stock.”
Zakkariah, another parent, said the book shop owners had complained that they were not updated on changes in syllabus or books by the school.
Official of Arora Book shop in Dubai said new stock are expected to arrive by next week.
‘Speed Limiters’ to rein in drivers
DUBAI — APRIL 08: The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) may soon require all tourist vehicles operating in the city proper and the deserts of Dubai to install a device called Speed Limiters to ensure that drivers do not exceed the speed limits fixed by the authorities.
The announcement came a few days after a vehicle commissioned by a tour company recently met with an accident which killed its Indian driver and injured five European tourists travelling in it.
In a statement released yesterday, the emirate’s tourism agency said it “intends to make Speed Limiters mandatory for all tourist vehicles”.
Once implemented, Dubai will be the first in the region to introduce Speed Limiters for tourist vehicles.
It was also noted that the device has been tested by local authorities and found to be meeting international standards.
The DTCM, however, failed to mention when the decision will officially come into effect or whether such a policy has already been communicated to tour operators in Dubai.
An information technology (IT) professional said devices like Speed Limiters use General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), a mobile communication technology that transfers data via satellite.
“The device can trace any vehicle within a specified range and monitor its activities. For instance, it can assess its speed.”
The device, he added, can be easily installed and transferred from one vehicle to another. While the technology is already available in the UAE, it has not yet gained wide popularity in the industry.
Each device, according to the source, costs around Dh 3,000 excluding the monthly satellite subscription of Dh 150.
Representatives of tour operating companies in Dubai, meanwhile, have supported DTCM’s plans to install the speed limit device.
Martina Hugo, Director of Operations of Net Tours, said safety should always be the top priority in the industry. “We always tell our drivers to observe the UAE traffic rules. We have international clients who are very concerned about safety issues,” she said.
Kulwant Singh, Managing Partner of Lama Desert Tours and Cruises LLC, said the initiative will help reduce the risk of accidents. “Prevention is always better than cure,” he said.
Workers’ dues important than lawyer’s fees: court
ABU DHABI — APRIL 08: Ensuring the rights of workers is more important than paying the fees of a lawyer, the Federal Supreme Court has observed.
As per the court records, a lawyer had filed a lawsuit demanding execution of an earlier judgment which obliged a bankrupt contractor to pay him Dh10,000, out of his shares valued at Dh84,000.
The lawyer was arguing the case on behalf of the workers whose dues were left unpaid by the contractor.
The workers had filed a counter-suit, demanding the payment of all their dues.
Rejecting the lawyer’s plea, the court noted that the bankrupt contractor’s remaining money represented part of the dues of the workers.
The lawyer challenged this verdict at the Abu Dhabi Court of Appeal, which rejected his petition.
The lawyer then moved the Federal Supreme Court, which also turned down his petition.
Cafeterias eye shopping malls for better business
DUBAI — APRIL 08: Small shopkeepers and cafeteria owners are planning to shift their businesses to bigger shopping malls due to the harassment from greedy landlords.
The landlords are sparing no effort to trouble the small shopkeepers. The recent case in which the landlord of the Bab Al Madina Supermarket in Bur Dubai allegedly blocked all entry points into the building on the pretext of renovation is a glaring example of this trend.
The Metro construction work going on all over Dubai also compounded the woes of these people as round-the-clock work is preventing customers from visiting their shops. Their sales dipped sharply in the recent months as their shops have become inaccessible to the public due to the construction work.
As Vinay Chawla, who owns a cafeteria near the Khaleej Centre in Bur Dubai said: “The conditions have become very tough for us now. The sales have dipped mainly due to the metro work. The labourers are working all day and there is no space left for the customers to come. Besides this, every year the landlord is increasing the rent. I pay Dh60,000 per year now and next year it is going to increase even. Now I am thinking of a place in the Khaleej Centre or at some other shopping mall. That place might be costly but then I would find many customers. And there would not be pressure from the landlords,” he lamented.
Ali, who also owns a cafeteria at the Rigga Road, echoed the same point of view. “The construction work at the Rigga Road doesn’t seem to be over. And our business has been badly affected. Now I have talked to the officials of the Ghurair City Mall for some space. I would have to pay a lot more but then the business would also be more. I hope to shift within a couple of months,” he said.
According to most of them, the Dubai Rent Committee needs to be even more strict with landlords. “We are not saying that the authorities are not doing their jobs. But then they need to do more. The landlords always threaten to cancel our tenancy contracts. Many of them try to increase the rent by either calling it as an increased electricity or water bill. We sometimes feel helpless,” said another, who has a aquarium shop at Deira.
“I am trying for a shop in one of the shopping centres. I have heard that the rents there are high. But then I want to get rid of this everyday problem,” he added.
The officials of the Dubai Rent Committee pointed out that the landlords could not cancel the tenancy contract or remove the tenants unless they had a valid reason.
Mohammed Al Shaikh, the Secretary General of the Committee said: “The landlord has to give a concrete reason. If he says that he wants to live in it, then we would like to know where he was living earlier and why he is leaving the earlier house. And if we find that he has given the house on rent to new tenants, he would be fined heavily. The same can be said about the commercial establishments as well,” he said.
Last-minute shocker for traffic violators
DUBAI — APRIL 08: Some of the motorists seeking renewal of their car registrations in Dubai are being caught unawares after being informed at the counters that their cars will be impounded for indulging in serious traffic offences.
The vehicles are being generally impounded for a period of 15 days to one month, depending on the seriousness of the violation.
However, what is irking these motorists is that despite the General Department of Traffic having gone high-tech in its services, they still learn about the fines, especially the serious ones, at the last moment. For example, some of the services that are already available now include alerts on traffic fines on mobile phones or Internet.
For a violation committed several months back, which some may even forget over a period of time, motorists get the shock of their lives when told their vehicles will be impounded.
Gita S., a resident of Dubai narrated how the traffic police official at Tasjeel informed that her car was to be impounded for having crossed the yellow box in December last year. “If the fine alert was issued to me earlier, I would have been mentally prepared for the impounding of the car,” she said.
She quipped: “Earlier, the Dubai Police would inform us of the fine by fax. I wonder why they have stopped this system?”
Another motorist about to go for the renewal of her car’s registration said she was too nervous about the outcome. “I may have invited some fines for the violations committed over the last one year of which I am unaware. I only hope my car does not get impounded,” she said.
Elsadiq Abu AL Arabi, a 40-year-old Dubai resident said the Traffic Department should inform the drivers about their offences immediately. “It is not right to penalise motorists in this manner,” he said.
When contacted, Issa Aman, Deputy Director of General Department of Traffic Department at the Dubai Police said the Traffic Department’s drive was aimed at making the roads safer. Motorists can get information about their traffic fines from the Dubai Police web site and kiosks, he added.
Besides, the police is also sending out details of the fines on their postal address of violators.
The official also clarified that the Traffic police was facing problems in posting the information about the fines mainly because of incorrect or incomplete postal addresses provided by motorists. Moreover, some motorists fail to furnish their new postal addresses in case of change of residence and the fines posted by mail either returns back or never reaches them. This results in accumulation of fines and thus the person comes to know of it only at the time of registration, the official pointed out.
The Traffic police had recently sent out some 10,000 traffic fine notices to violators by post, but a large number of the letters came back, with only 200 people receiving their traffic fine notices, the official informed.
However, the official admitted that in some instances, delay may have occurred in registering the traffic fines by the concerned police stations. But the police issues every detail to the violator, including the car number plate, the location etc., he added.
“Prior to issuing the traffic fines, the police also verifies all the information to ensure that the car details are correct,” the official explained.
The official also disclosed that the General Department of Traffic would soon start sending SMS messages to people, informing them about the traffic fines. At the same time, violators will be provided pictures as proof of their violations through SMS alerts, he informed.
Dubai - Minimum speed limit set
Dubai - APRIL 08: Dubai’s highways will soon have signs showing motorists the minimum speeds allowed on them. The Road and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced that they will set the minimum speed to 60kph on major routes. RTA officials said yesterday that the decision was taken to increase road safety after a study revealed that disparity between the speed of vehicles on certain roads is one of the main factors that causes accidents. The maximum speed limit on the emirate’s highways is 120kph.
Abu Dhabi - Driver’s rubble trouble
Abu Dhabi - April 08: A woman who had owned her new car for less than a day saw it destroyed before her eyes after falling rubble crushed it as she sat inside. Daphne Harris, a real estate consultant based in Abu Dhabi, said she was driving her Ford in the capital the day after collecting it from the showroom when debris from an under-demolition building crashed down onto the vehicle.
“Suddenly this huge piece of debris just fell on my car bonnet. I thought there was an earthquake. It was only when I recovered from the shock that I realised that the debris from the demolition site in Hamdan Street had bounced off the safety barrier and landed on my bonnet,” she said. Daphne, although insured, must pay five per cent of the vehicle’s worth. The builders were unavailable for comment