Day: July 30, 2007

Waterbuses likely to operate from August

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Waterbuses likely to operate from August
By a staff reporter / Khaleej Times

DUBAI — The waterbus service, officially launched on Sunday, will be open to commuters only by next month, it was learnt.

A senior official of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) yesterday confirmed the delay of the waterbus service on the Dubai Creek, saying it was due to technical reasons.

Khalid Al Zahed, director of Maritime Projects Department at the RTA, said the waterbuses were currently being tested and would be allowed to ply in the creek only after a foolproof check.

“The waterbuses will be plying along the Dubai Creek from next month. At present we are in the process of carrying out checks and re-checks to ensure their safe run,” he said.

The official added: “Safety of the commuters is RTA’s top priority. We want to first make sure that these buses are risk-free.”

Zahed added that a total number of 12 buses would be operating in the Creek on five different routes.

Meanwhile, staff at waterbus station at Al Seef said several people were coming every day to enquire about the waterbuses.

While the daily commuters will have to pay Dh4 for a trip, tourists will be charged Dh25 for a 45-minute tour.

There will be five lines for these waterbuses, including one for tourists which will start from the Shindaga station and go up to the Al Seef station. For the daily commuters, there are four lines – from Al Seef station to Baniyas station, from Sabkha station to Bur Dubai station, Old Souk station to Al Seef station and Old Souk station to Baniyas station. Commuters can also buy prepaid cards for the waterbuses, according to Eng. Eisa Abdul Rehman Al Dosari, CEO of the Marine Agency at the RTA.

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Prices rise by 50%

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Mineral water gets costlier next month
By Binsal Abdul Kader, Staff Reporter/Gulf News
Published: July 30, 2007, 00:01

Abu Dhabi: Consumers are complaining that prices of all essential commodities have gone up.

“Whatever I purchased for Dh100 two months ago costs me around Dh130-Dh140 now,” said James, an Indian expatriate who has been living in Abu Dhabi for the past 10 years.

Many supermarkets also confirmed the price increase of up to 50 per cent for some commodities in the past six months.

A senior manager of a prominent retail chain disclosed that the retail price of wheat flour has gone up by 50 per cent since January.

Basic commodities

“The 50kg bag of wheat flour priced at Dh56.50 in January was increased to Dh71 on July 5 and further increased to Dh83 this week,” he said.

A 10kg bag of another type of flour, a mix of wheat and ground gram, went up by more than 30 per cent in the same period. The retail price was Dh13.50 in January but is now Dh17.95.

Interestingly the price was increased thrice this month. It was increased to Dh14.85 on July 1, and further increased to Dh15.95 and Dh17.95 on July 5 and July 29 respectively.

“Wheat is mainly imported from the United States, India and Pakistan. Apart from the increase in the cost of production, the fluctuation in the exchange rate is also said to be the reason for the substantial rise in price. The appreciation of the Indian rupee against the US dollar and the dirham has caused a price rise for almost all commodities imported from India,” the manager of the retail chain said. But most retailers admitted that prices will not come down when the exchange rate is changed.

The latest in the series of price rises is that of mineral water.

“Almost all suppliers of mineral water have given notice to us that prices will be increased from July 1 onwards. A four-gallon water can will be priced at Dh9 against the current price of Dh7,” said V. Nanda Kumar, Corporate Communications Manager of Emke Group. “We have told the suppliers that the new prices have to be ratified by the Ministry of Economy,” he said.

The price of rice and vegetable oil has also gone up. Two of the oil brands have already implemented the price rise and others have given notice for the same to the wholesale dealers.

The price of sugar has been fluctuating during the past three months. Many consumers have demanded the intervention of the Ministry of Economy to control prices. No official from the ministry was available for comments.

Enoc hikes diesel price for fourth time in 40 days

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Enoc hikes diesel price for fourth time in 40 days
By Shakir Husain, Staff Reporter / GULF NEWS
Published: July 30, 2007, 00:01

Dubai: Dubai’s Emirates National Oil Company (Enoc) yesterday raised the price of diesel by six per cent to Dh10.60 per gallon, the company’s fourth price increase in less than 40 days.

On the previous three occasions the state-run company, which operates Enoc and Eppco filling stations, increased diesel prices by 20 fils each time.

The latest price hike makes diesel 24 per cent costlier in Dubai than in Abu Dhabi.

Diesel was available for Dh8.60 per gallon at the filling stations operated by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, which has kept its price unchanged despite the distributors in Dubai regularly hiking fuel prices.

Emirates General Petroleum Corp (Emarat) was still selling diesel at Dh9.99 per gallon yesterday, but the company has matched Enoc prices in the past with its own price revisions.

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The Ministry of Economy said recently a 31.5 per cent increase in the prices of petroleum products in 2005 fuelled last year’s inflation, which it estimated at 9.3 per cent.

Transport companies said the steep price hike will put an extra financial burden on them.

“Diesel prices keep going up but we cannot increase our charges so frequently,” said a manager of Belhasa Bus Rental company, which operates a fleet of 70 vehicles.

Diesel consumers may also be encouraged to source cheaper fuel from Adnoc outlets.

“We are instructing our drivers to get diesel from Adnoc stations if they are in Abu Dhabi or Sharjah,” said Kamran Ahmad, manager of another transport company based in Dubai.

An Enoc spokesperson told Gulf News one reason for the latest price revision was the recent introduction of low-sulphur diesel by the company and producing that fuel “is a costlier process with additional long-term investment required.”