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Lawmakers urge action as sand blocks highways – MP Awdah warns of dispute over Oil Minister

KUWAIT: Two MPs yesterday called on the Ministry of Public Works to immediately take all the necessary measures to clear large quantities of sand that closed the Wafra road as a result of massive dust storms. MP Saud Al-Huraiji said in a statement that the accumulation of large quantities of sand on a number of key roads like Wafra and Salmi and blocking traffic is a failure for the Ministry. He said the Ministry’s failure to carry out the necessary maintenance and repairs on important roads and to clear these roads from sand has resulted in a number of fatal accidents.

Kuwait has been hit by a powerful sand storm for the past few days as a result of strong northwesterly winds. The raising of dust was assisted by the fact that desert sand this year is too loose because of the lack of rain. He said that Ministry of Public Works officials have maintained a deaf ear to repeated appeals to carry out regular maintenance on key roads, especially the 100-km Salmi road which leads to the Saudi-Kuwaiti border post in Salmi

Huraiji said that the officials were urged in the past to widen the road and to plant fences of trees on the both sides of the road to act as sand barriers and prevent the accumulation of sand and accidents.

The lawmaker said that Minister Ahmad Al-Jassar and senior officials should be held politically and legally accountable for the miserable status of several roads which were blocked by sand despite abundant fiscal reserves in the country. He said that last year, he sent questions to the then Public Works Minister about the condition of the Salmi road and plans to repair and develop the important road. Since then, nothing was changed and the road remained as it was.

Huraiji said that ambulances and rescue operations were greatly hampered by sands on several roads where roads in neighboring Gulf states, which were hit by the same dust storm, remained clean and open to traffic. MP Talal Al-Jallal made a similar appeal for the Ministry to carry out the necessary works and repairs on the road leading to Wafra on the borders with Saudi Arabia. He said that the road was blocked to traffic by falling sand and also resulted in a number of accidents.

Jallal said Wafra road needs a major development in order to reduce the number of deadly accident on the vital road. MP Awdah Al-Awdah said yesterday that the ongoing dispute between the oil executives and Oil Minister Ali Al- Omair could divide the National Assembly into two sides.

He pointed out that the threat by oil executives to step down in protest against the Minister’s decision is not right nor suitable, adding that decisions by the minister should be issued at the right time. The Oil Minister has added six new members to the board of directors of Kuwait Petroleum Corp to expand the board members to 15. That triggered negative reactions by a number of oil executives and MPs.

By B Izzak

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This article was published on 08/07/2015