It's been a busy week, and we're only half way!
A couple of news stories I've meant to comment on recently are bunched together here.
Firstly, the tragic story of an Indian citizen left waiting for her embassy to come to her aid at Muscat International Airport. For those of you that have not yet heard about this story (picked up by the Gulf News on the 10th), which broke last Sunday (8th October), you could be forgiven: it was not covered in the local press. (But it was picked up by local blogger English Girl in Oman).
The key points of this story are as follows:
The Indian citizen was working in Muscat as a housemaid for her Omani sponsor. After just 2 months of work, the housemaid was sent home to India by the sponsor due to ill-health. It is evident that this woman had some serious health issues, and was no doubt ill. She lost her passport somewhere in Qatar when changing planes to continue on to her home in Chennai. Because she lost her passport, she was sent back to her port of origin, Muscat. With no passport, ROP immigration could not grant this woman entrance back into the country and thus she became stranded at the airport. The Indian embassy here in Muscat was notified of the situation within hours of the event occurring, but failed to send anyone to assist this person. Even the ROP contacted the Indian embassy but still no one from the embassy could be bothered to come and see this poor woman.
After 5 days of being stranded in the airport, the woman had a seizure and died. When the Indian Ambassador Anil Wadwha was questioned as to what happened, he cited "procedural delays". What a bunch of incompetent, lazy and clearly lying people. To further rub salt in the wound, check out Issue #397 of The Week. Anil Wadwha is photographed 3 times at separate events in the "in town" photo section of the paper. It is disgraceful.
Next up: Her Majesty the Queen has formally published her travel dates. On November 25th, Oman will host The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh until the 28th of November. I should imagine that the roads will be closed a lot!
The UAE is getting a 2 day (1 night) stop-in from The Queen on her way to Oman before hand.
The much-delayed Muscat Expressway is on track to be opened on the 18th November to mark the nations 40th National day. I dare say it will be far from complete, but it will certainly help ease traffic congestion on the Sultan Qaboos highway and 18th November street during rush hour, as well as no doubt aiding the traffic nightmare that is Ghala. Additionally, the road from Amerat to Bousher (or is it Al Khuwair?) is nearing completion and will also be opening soon.
And finally, in a "Did you know" section... The ROP maintain a fairly comprehensive website, where among many other services, they allow you to check to see if you have incurred any driving fines. Click here for the website, you'll need your drivers license number, and your numberplate. You can even choose to pay these fines online should you wish.
And a little history lesson for you all. The ROP's took over vehicle licensing duties and responsibilities on the 4th September 1970...... from the Muscat & Muttrah Municipality.
Thats all for today.
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