Salwa flooding: Citizens press for action

 25 Apr 2014 - 5:22

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DOHA: Several citizens have hailed the report released on Wednesday by the committee that investigated the flooding on two Salwa road tunnels following heavy rains last month and called for legal action against those who were responsible for the inundation.
The report held the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) and the Salwa road project management responsible for the flooding but didn’t specify any action against them.
Several citizens quoted by a local Arabic daily in a report yesterday described the committee’s  findings as “accurate” and “to the point”.
“The report has pinpointed those responsible for the incident. It shows respect for public opinion and people’s right to information,” said Mohammed Al Mutawa.
“People have always been complaining about the mistakes made by Ashghal but they had not been taken seriously. But now they are confirmed… punishing those who are responsible for the incident is a public requirement to show that the government is serious about correcting such mistakes,” he added.
According to lawyer Mohammed Majid Al Hajri, the issue should be referred to the Public Prosecution for further investigation. “Why did they (Ashghal) receive the project (from the contractors )before it was completed? At least they should have announced that it is not finished,” he said.
He said Ashghal was responsible for opening unfinished projects for public use, which legally clears the contractors of the responsibility.
Ahmed Jolo, Chairman of the Qatari Engineers Association, said the report was realistic and rose to his expectations. He said the mistakes referred by the report shows the importance of having a permanent committee comprising experts to monitor implementation of projects.
“One good thing in the report is the decision to establish a permanent emergency  and crisis management system. This must include the Civil Defence, municipalities, Ashghal and other bodies concerned,” he added.
CMC member Mohammed Al Hajri wondered why no warning system was available in such underpasses and how the authorities could wait until people called for help.
Another CMC member, Ahmed Al Sheeb, said: “We are fed up of complaining. It’s time to bring those people to the court. There is a need to put all the projects under strict monitoring,”
“Many times we had said Ashghal cannot do all these jobs alone at the national level. It must be converted into a ministry for infrastructure projects and provided with all requirements,” said CMC member Mohamed Saleh Al Khayarain,
Mohammed Jassim Al Muslamani, also a CMC member, while hailing the report, said he expected it to include ways to compensate those whose cars and belongings were damaged by the flooding.
The Peninsula