Saturday 17 November 2012

Late marriages among Qataris cause concern

The country’s demographic policymakers have expressed concern over late marriages among Qataris, saying the practice is a hurdle in the way of achieving the target of a higher birth rate in the community.

A high of 43 percent of the targets related to population could not be achieved in the third phase due to lack of new directives to encourage marriage. 

The Permanent Population Committee (PPC) said in its annual report for 2012 released yesterday that it was working on a new law to set up a marriage fund for Qataris to encourage early marriages.

High cost of marriage is a major factor behind delayed marriages among the Qatari youth, the panel said.
“We are planning to launch an awareness drive among newly-wed couples and those who are planning to get married on the benefits of opting for small apartments as a temporary solution,” the report said.

The committee admitted in the report that it has failed to achieve many of its targets related to its population policy. There is severe imbalance between the population of Qataris and foreigners in the country. The population of foreign workers has increased in double digits (at 13 percent annually) between 2004 and 2010. “This is a major challenge before the Committee. The Committee must think of ways to confront this challenge,” said the head of the Committee, Dr Saleh Mohamed Al Nabit. The Committee is also busy assessing the likely impact of the upcoming mega projects on the Qatar’s population which is tipped to grow immensely due to a large influx of foreign workers.

Al Nabit said all concerned agencies must work in close cooperation to help control the impact of the demographic changes and rapid expansion of the local labour market.

The high cost of marriage among Qataris is a major factor behind delayed marriages among the Qatari youth. The committee realised the need for more effective measures to encourage the youth to get married at an early age. The report talks about four focal points in the third phase — population and workforce, education and training, public health and empowerment of children, women, youth and the disabled.

In the education sector, the report identified the major challenge as the failure to link higher education with the demands of the job market. There is the lack of a full-fledged institute to fulfill the training requirement for different sectors. 

To address this issue, the Committee in the next phase will focus on short and long term courses to prepare the graduates for the job market and develop a training system that keeps pace with future requirements.
The major challenge identified in the health sector is to expand the healthcare facilities to meet the demands of the growing population.

The report also underlined the absence of a specialised centre to treat infertility, which a growing concern among the population.

As a solution, the Committee in the fourth phase will lay emphasis on  increasing the number of beds in public hospitals and distribution of healthcare facilities based on the demography of each region and locality.

On the environment front, the major issue cited by the report is a lack of public awareness on the wasteful use of water and electricity. The committee will focus on more awareness programmes on this issue and also encourage designers and developers to adopt green building concepts in future projects.

To promote empowerment of women and children, the committee will focus on establishing nurseries at workplaces to support working women. More paediatric emergencies will be set up across the country in the next phase.

There will be more business initiatives targeting the youth, especially in the SME sector and more job opportunities for people with special needs.

The priority areas in the next phase also include diversification of economic activities for Qatari women, ending all types of violence against children, and increasing the participation of youth in political, economic and social activities.

(Source: The Peninsula)

Sunday 4 November 2012

Lions and tigers as pets in villas terrify neighbours

Some people have big cats like lions and tigers in their homes as pets in flagrant violation of the country’s laws and without realising the threat these predators pose to them and their neighbours who live in constant fear and are exposed to severe health hazards.

A number of nationals have been complaining that some families living in their neighbourhood have tigers and lions as domesticated animals.

A citizen has claimed in remarks to Al Sharq that he knew a fellow citizen who had allocated rooms in his spacious residential compound for tigers which he had been raising as pets.

“Not only that, the man keeps the main gate of his large residence open all the time so children living in the vicinity keep frequenting the place just to look at the intriguing large and powerful carnivores,” the citizen was quoted as saying. “This is indeed a very dangerous thing.”

Complainants have expressed fear that even if these dangerous predators are kept securely caged inside residential compounds a typical stench hangs in the air in the entire area all the time which poses a severe health hazard.

And who knows how securely these animals are kept or caged by their so-called lovers. The beasts could break free and escape and seriously threaten people’s lives. “I don’t think people having such dangerous domesticated animals are equipped properly to take care of them. Most of these pets actually live in neglect,” said a complainant.

“These animals are predators and even at play their huge size and strength make them a threat, and who knows a careless owner might open the cage and forget to close it,” said the complainant.

When told about it, lawyer Mohasin Thiyab Al Suwaidi said it is a punishable offence under Qatar’s laws to keep dangerous animals as pets and anyone who knows about places other than a licenced zoo that have such animals must immediately inform the Interior Ministry. “Keeping dangerous animals at home as pets is more severe an offence than having unlicenced arms,” he told The Peninsula.

In case such a pet is let loose and attacks a person, its owner is to be held accountable. “Qatar’s laws are clear on this,” said the lawyer. The law allows such animals to be killed because their presence in residential areas poses severe threat to life and property.

Source: The Peninsula