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Posted On: 4 June 2013 11:04 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:13 pm

Curbs likely on driving licences for expats

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It may not be easier any more for newly-arriving foreign workers to acquire a Qatari driver’s licence as the authorities are mulling imposing restrictions to help ease increasing traffic chaos and snarls on Doha roads. The Ministry of Interior has been closely monitoring driving schools and asking them to keep under check their appetite to enrol more and more learners. Already, foreign workers who are here on temporary project visas are not being issued driver’s licences any more. A high-profile committee with members from the Ministry of Interior, Advisory Council, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Urban Planning and Public Works Authority (Ashghal) was set up to study the problem of traffic jams and come out with permanent solutions. Among the various aspects studied by the committee was the policy of issuing driver’s licences to expatriates. The committee has called for a review of this policy. It has recommended a number of other measures to control the traffic situation on the Doha roads. Among its key recommendations is that only certain categories of foreign workers arriving in the country afresh should be issued driver’s licence. The committee has held five meetings and among those who have attended was the Minister of State for Interior Affairs H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani. The Advisory Council had some of its internal services and public amenities committee members on this influential panel. The Council yesterday discussed the recommendations of the panel and passed them unanimously to be forwarded to the State Cabinet. As a permanent solution, it has been suggested by the committee to decentralise commercial activities from Doha and build multi-layered parking lots in the capital city. All government ministries and offices have similar work timings and this is one of the reasons of traffic snarls. A separate committee that looked into the problem of traffic jams has identified 138 vulnerable spots across Doha. According to the Ministry of Interior, on the Doha roads daily, there are about 876,000 cars on average on week days, 700,000 motorists, 1,553 school buses, and 153 public transport buses. The road near the Ramada Hotel that leads to Salwa Road has been identified as a major bottleneck, as also the Corniche Road that witnesses a lot of snarls during peak hours due to some roundabouts still being there. They are to be changed into traffic lights intersections. The rise in traffic snarls across Doha has been attributed to the exploding population of people and vehicles in the country.