Abu Dhabi: Members of the Federal National Council (FNC) passed a draft law designed to regulate, develop, construct, operate and maintain the federal railways.
The House introduced an article to emphasise against prejudice to the landowner’s right to fair compensation.
Under the bill, which requires the President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed’s final approval, anyone who attacks a railroad vehicle with the intention of hijacking it, or taking all or some of the goods it carries, or harming one or more persons in it or diverting its course, shall face a penalty of life or temporary imprisonment.
The bill states that whoever deliberately endangers the safety of the railways, its infrastructure, or any of its assets, shall be punished with temporary imprisonment and a fine of not less than Dh100,000, but not more than Dh5,000,000.
Under the draft law, anyone who intentionally sabotages, disrupts or damages infrastructure or railroad assets, shall be punished with temporary imprisonment and the penalty shall be imprisonment for a period of not less than seven years if the act results in injury, and the penalty shall be aggravated in the event of death, and in all cases it is decided to pay the value of the thing destroyed.
Focus on logistics
The UAE, already one of the world’s largest logistics and transportation hubs, is working on connectivity between its ports, airports and manufacturing hubs to boost freight volumes, enhance its logistics sector and facilitate trade.
The focus on logistics comes as the Gulf nation seeks to diversify its economy away from oil and boost alternative revenue streams. Its 1,200-km national railway is part of wider plans to connect with the networks of other Gulf countries.
Linking the ports of Fujairah and Khorfakkan to the railway network is expected to stimulate international trade, Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE’s national railway, said.
According to the draft law, a penalty of imprisonment and a fine of not less than Dh10,000 but not more than Dh5,000,000, or one of these two penalties, shall be handed down to whoever, by negligence, endangers the safety of the railways, its infrastructure, or any of its assets.
Whoever steals any of the railroad movables shall be punished with imprisonment and a fine of not less than Dh100,000 but not exceeding Dh,000,000, or one of these two penalties, whoever, by negligence, cause collision with a railway vehicle or its derailment, and the penalty shall be a prison term not exceeding five years if the act results in death.
Whoever crosses, permits, or facilitates the crossing of pedestrians, vehicles, or animals through the railways other than from the places designated for this purpose, shall be punished with imprisonment and a fine of not less than Dh20,000 but not more than Dh100,000, or one of these two penalties.
Without prejudice to the penalties stipulated in this law, a fine of not more than Dh10,000,000 shall be imposed on anyone who violates any of the provisions of this law or its executive regulations.
Trains of Etihad Rail will carry up to 30 million tonnes of construction material per year to distribution centres in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, cutting transport costs and reducing truck trips by more than 2,000 journeys a day.
Work on the 145-km link includes building 15 tunnels through the Hajar mountains with a total length of 16 km as well as construction of 35 bridges and 32 underpasses.
The next phase of the project will connect ports in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.