Month: September 2014

New road will ease traffic – Letters to the editor – The National 15 September 2014

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New road will ease traffic

I am sure commuters will be relieved when the road works are complete in the Al Wahda Mall area (Road works expected to ease access to Al Wahda Mall, September 14).
Apart from congestion, the bus stop dedicated to the shopping complex posed a visual obstruction for drivers exiting the mall. Another shortcoming was the lack of sunshades for bus passengers. These two issues, I hope, will be resolved.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

Pedestrian bridge fails to lure capital jaywalkers

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ABU DHABI // Residents and visitors darting through high-speed traffic to get to Abu Dhabi Mall is an all-too-common sight.
The “no pedestrian” signs, a footbridge across to the mall and another near Le Meridien Hotel are being routinely ignored by many and even a Dh200 fine for jaywalking has failed to deter hasty pedestrians.
At 4pm on Monday, in a 30-minute period The National counted 42 pedestrians crossing three lanes of traffic to and from Abu Dhabi Mall. Less than half that number took the stairs.
Many find it easier to take the risk and dash across the street. Among the jaywalkers were two couriers, a woman and her young daughter, a pregnant woman, two women wearing abayas, an Abu Dhabi Co-op staffer with a trolley filled with groceries, men in business suits, and groups of mall shop workers.
A 27-year-old banker, who did not wish to be named, said a jaywalking ticket would not deter him from crossing illegally.
“I got a fine about three years ago,” he said. “I’m so tired and I just want to get into my car now. I just don’t care if I get a fine right now.”
In March 2008, police raised the fines for jaywalking to Dh200 from Dh50, saying the lower penalty had failed to deter pedestrians.
The elevator installed near the pedestrian bridge had also done little to encourage pedestrians to use it, he said.
“It takes five minutes each to get up and down,” he said. “They need to do something about it.”
On Monday, the entrance to the elevator was cordoned off by police tape.
“This elevator is for the physically handicapped, visually impaired persons and senior citizens only,” a sign read.
A security guard said jaywalking tended to be a group activity.
“At 6pm, they all come in groups,” he said. “It’s illegal and dangerous, but they prefer to cross the road.”
Two Filipina service crew were apologetic when asked why they had crossed the road instead of using the footbridge.
“We’re really sorry,” one said. “We know it’s wrong but we’re late for work.”
Police are stationed near the mall to conduct random inspections and issue jaywalking fines.
“They’re usually here at 7pm,” the mall guard said.
Sajith Raj, 27, a fireman in Abu Dhabi for five years, said it did not make sense for people to dash across lanes of traffic and put themselves in harm’s way.
“I always use the bridge when I visit the mall,” said Mr Raj, who crossed over with four friends. “Apart from being dangerous and illegal, a lot of time is wasted waiting until the vehicles pass.”
Mani Alumuthu, 42, a marketing officer who has lived in Abu Dhabi for four years, agreed.
“The Government built this bridge with the pedestrians’ safety in mind, but unfortunately only a few are using it.”
In February, Abu Dhabi Municipality announced measures to improve the safety of pedestrians and road users. Pavements have since been widened and standardised, new fencing to prevent jaywalking has been erected and electronic directional signs have been installed.
The Abu Dhabi Police Traffic and Patrol Directorate reported in July that its campaign “Towards Reducing Serious Injuries and Death Rates Caused by Run-Over Accidents” resulted in a 59 per cent fall in deaths caused by run-over incidents in the past five years.
“But the majority of the residents lack a safe traffic culture,” said Ramesh Menon, a technical officer at an oil firm in Abu Dhabi and a resident for 25 years.

“It’s very sad to see women with their children who repeatedly cross the road in undesignated areas. They are supposed to educate them and spread road safety awareness and help save lives.”
All pedestrians and cyclists should remember they have a key responsibility for their own safety, said Dino Kalivas, chairman of the driver education and training committee at the International Road Federation.
“They should stop one step back from the kerb or shoulder of the road if there is no walkway and listen in all directions for approaching traffic,” he said.
“They should also think about whether it is safe to cross the road, when the road is clear or all traffic has stopped, and observe the traffic lights and signals.”  

Avoidable turmoil – Gulf Today – Short Take – Dt 14-09-2014

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Avoidable turmoil
These days, when one opens the newspapers, it is filled with stories of atrocities happening around the world. The sufferings of people are beyond explanation. In particular, women and children. There is absolutely no safety for them and they end up as the first, fast and easy prey for the tormentors.
Reading about the killings, I wonder why humanity has gone back to the bygone era, when the world is highly advanced in terms of technology and expertise.
Where there are no man-made calamities happening, we hear of natural disasters. The recent floods in India, Pakistan, Philippines and other countries are of high magnitude. It will take several years to rebuild what has been destroyed. Let us at least try and strive to reduce the emotional difficulties of those affected.
Ramesh Menon

Gulf Today, Short Take Dt. 13 September 2014
To read it in original, please visit Gulf Today online

Learn French and let us communicate in French

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Learn French and let us communicate in French

In order to encourage the learning of French, Mr. T. K. Jayaraman has  prepared a video course entitled, ” Let us communicate in French” . The duration for the level A1 of the course is 150 minutes, consisting of 43 lessons. The course is available to all subscribers in the site The onetime subscription of INR 500 is kept deliberately low so that all students can afford the course. Once subscribed, the learner can learn at his/her own pace while online.
Please feel free to share this information with your contacts about the availability of the course.

For advanced learners, the higher level of this course will be online shortly.

Click here to visit the “Let us communicate in French” site.

Woman of substance – Short Take – Gulf Today – 06 Sepetmber 2014

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Woman of substance

A few days ago, I had an opportunity to interview a young UAE local girl student. She was just back after winning a scholarship to attend a prestigious international seminar in Paris. Initially, she was reluctant to speak.
After I convinced her of the importance, she gave me 10 minutes for the discussion.
Slowly opening out, she started talking about her school and college education and then her first work placement as an intern with a reputed government organisation. After gaining adequate skill on the job training, she moved on to her first real job at a national oil company.
True to her nature, she has become one of the key Corporate Social Responsibility representatives of it.
Intelligent and willing to learn more, she is simultaneously learning International Law and Diplomacy at a prestigious university. The intensive programme makes her attend the classes five days a week in the evening. For any ordinary person, this is already more than what one can take.
It was the above two qualities that helped her get selected to attend this prestigious scholarship in France. She was one among the 120 students who made it from different countries. It was a great experience for her as she learned technically and culturally a lot from it.
In turn, she represented herself as ambassador of the country clarifying the queries of her fellow students about life in the UAE.
Here is the difference I made out within that future achiever. Keen to contribute more to the society, she is already working on her family business to establish a series of business enterprises in the emirates.
Once opened, it will be a set of state-of-the-art medical facilities of quality and class within the satellite towns of Abu Dhabi. She has identified the need for the requirement of quality healthcare in that area and almost through with the establishment procedures.
If I am correct, when this facility is inaugurated, she will be the youngest UAE local woman entrepreneur in the medical and health industry.
Girls like her are an asset to this country and inspiration for the future generation. Leaving her office after about an hour, I sincerely wished her the best in her future endeavours.

Ramesh Menon
Gulf Today Dt. 06 September 2014
To read it in original, please visit Gulf Today Online

Safer roads require better monitoring – The National Dt 02 September 2014

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Safer roads require better monitoring

In reference to your story, Heavy traffic but no major road issues as UAE goes back to school (September 1), it is indeed fortunate that no untoward incidents occurred on the first day of the school after summer break.
However, yesterday I witnessed examples of reckless driving.
One involved a bus carrying labourers on Sheikh Zayed Street along Abu Dhabi’s eastern corniche. It recklessly cut across lanes and sped off. It had no signs on it to indicate which company was providing the service.
This shows the importance of the police monitoring the roads from their control room so that when this kind of dangerous driving is detected, a patrol car can intervene before an accident follows.
I also believe this class of vehicles should be restricted to the slow lanes.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

The National Dt. 02 September 2014
To read it in original, please visit The National online