We’re in the last quarter of Ramadan. Hope you’ve had a peaceful and inspiring month. We’ve seen so many wonderful community initiatives in June that reaffirm faith in the human spirit of generosity and empathy.
People from across cultures and nations have come together to remember the best of humanity - compassion and tolerance. The Sufi saint Nizamuddin from India, who lived over 750 years ago, has talked about how if someone throws thorns in your path and you respond in the same vein, then “where will you walk?”
Perhaps it is difficult to follow his advice consistently:
‘May God befriend all those who are my foes,
May all who hurt me gain increased repose.
May all who in my path place thorns from spite
Lead lives that flower like a thorn-less rose.’
But, this Ramadan, we saw many who were trying to promote this sense of peace, hope and unity. Even in the recent London tower fire, many lives were saved because fasting Muslims who were up for their dawn prayer were able to detect the smell of smoke and alert neighbours.
You must definitely log on to gulfnews.com and check out our Ramadan stories. Readers Desk did a special report on the number of free iftars distributed across the UAE in Ramadan, and the conservative estimate was put at 5.5 million. So, do you know of something incredible being done in your neighbourhood? Tell us, share pictures and we would love to place the story on our platforms.
Moving on to the winners of May, top place goes to the report, “A traffic signal will surely ease congestion in this area”, by T. A. Palani. It was published on May 10. It is about a serious problem for people driving from International City to Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road. The matter was escalated to the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), which replied that it is being addressed — a constructive solution is in the offing for a daily problem.
Second place goes to Babu Panicker for his report, “Too expensive to park in Silicon Oasis”, published on May 3. Again, it affects the lives of many who live in the area, every day. It was raised and the RTA responded with a detailed clarification of forthcoming plans.
Thid prize is for the article, “Leaning telephone booth once posed a safety hazard”, by Siddharth Lakshman, published on May 17. Again, the community report had etisalat take corrective action in a prompt manner. And this was something that came through in many reports for May - the problems had concrete resolutions offered by the concerned authorities. This is exactly what we strive for, to create that bridge which helps communities lead happier lives.
Keep writing in, keep making a difference.
First: T. A. Palani
Published on: May 10, 2017.
T. A. Palani, a revenue accounts supervisor based in Dubai, raised the issue of the lack of a traffic signal at a roundabout located in Dubai’s International City. Every morning, he faces heavy traffic congestion on this stretch of road, an issue that could be resolved quickly in his opinion.
He said: “Community reports are a good platform to get messages across to other people, so that they will also highlight the issues in their areas. Many people look for ways to resolve the problems within their communities. But, thanks to Gulf News, we now have a platform that is a service to humanity.”
His concerns were raised with the management of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), which confirmed that they had plans to implement traffic solutions in that area.
Palani said: “I received a good response from people who travel on the same bus and even the driver was glad, as he struggles to drive in the area.”
Second: Babu Panicker
Published on: May 3, 2017
Babu Panicker, a retired professional based in Dubai, raised his concerns about the introduction of paid parking zones in the Dubai Silicon Oasis area. His issue was with the fact that the parking spaces in the area are of the ‘H’ category, as labelled by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and residents are charged at Dh4 per hour.
He said: “Through the community reports, I wanted to raise this issue because the internal roads mainly consist of residential buildings and there is no annual parking card facility for the ‘H’ category. This makes the residents’ life miserable.”
He requested through his report for the RTA to consider charging Dh2 per hour, with access to monthly or annual parking cards for residents. His concerns were raised with RTA, which stated that “there was a need to streamline the parking spaces in the area to curb the high occupancy rates, fend off casual parking and prevent the misuse of parking for prolonged times”.
Third: Siddharth Lakshman
Published on: May 17, 2017
Siddharth Lakshman, a reader based in Sharjah, was concerned about a leaning telephone booth in the emirate’s Al Rolla area. He was worried it would topple over and injure a passerby and so requested that the telecommunication company take some action to fix it.
He said: “I wrote about the issue because I strongly believe that the community reports are very good initiative. After my report was published, my teachers and classmates appreciated and congratulated me for my efforts.”
Apart from that, the reader’s concerns were raised with the management of etisalat, too, and the telecommunication company was quick to resolve the issue.
— Profiles compiled by Rabab Khan/Community Interactivity Editor