x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

A beacon in Iraq's north

Iraq as a whole may have problems politically and economically, but one part of the country – the Kurdish north – deserves credit for its progress, a letter writer argues. Other letter topics today: better bank lending, environmentalism, pricey airfare and bans on the beach.

A reader comments that the Kurdish region of Iraq has managed to avoid the persistent problems that have dogged the nation's energy infrastructure projects. EPA
A reader comments that the Kurdish region of Iraq has managed to avoid the persistent problems that have dogged the nation's energy infrastructure projects. EPA

It requires lot of courage for a highly social and community orientated person like KB Muralee to come out and openly discuss his harrowing financial experiences as a credit card holder with payment discrepancies (Dh258 credit card fee that led to debt of Dh60,000, July 1).

We can imagine the plight of those who cannot communicate or do not have any way to challenge predatory lending policies. Imagine those who suffer this type of debt silently, or with no clue how to dig themselves out of the trap they are in.

Mr Muralee's cases sheds light on the challenges people face when it comes to debt here, and give us insight into those who abscond from the country - or take their own lives - to escape this vicious cycle.

The UAE Central Bank should conduct a comprehensive check of credit card policies, especially about how interest is levied against customers and charges allocated.

Banking regulatory authorities should also come out with appropriate rules to move the mandatory and explanatory clauses from fine print to bigger and bolder notes in all banking application forms. Banks should be required to have a controlling officer guide the applicant, before approving any credit line to customers, about various charges and consequences of payment anomalies.

Mr Muralee was bold enough to speak out about excessive charges. But I imagine there are thousands of unlucky others out there who are not able or willing to do the same.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

Work together to save the planet

The Do Good to planet Earth advertisement in your paper on July 12 by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority was a message I hope everyone will take to heart.

Too many people do not care about the environment. We need to change: please, turn off appliances, do not use so much water, learn how to take care of the environment, stop littering, grow plants and make sure not to waste anything.

We also need recycling possibilities and education about plastic bags.

Can the UAE look at making some strict laws about those issues? We need to work together to save our world.

Brigitte Graefin von Bulow, Abu Dhabi

A few bad apples ruin beach for rest

I write in reference to your news article, Families wanted beach privacy (July 12).

The invasion of privacy that people are complaining about is probably the result of teenagers who are hassling the women.

These teens have spoiled it for the rest of us. Enough said.

Name withheld by request

Keralites being gouged by airlines

Airlines operating between the UAE and Kerala are robbing passengers blind. Consider these fares to Kerala destinations by various airlines:

On July 12, Air India from Sharjah to Trivandrum charged Dh3,215, while Air Arabia was charging Dh2,059 from Sharjah to Delhi.

The following day, Air Arabia from Sharjah to Cochin cost Dh2,211, whereas you could fly from Sharjah to the Indian capital for Dh1,086.

Keralites worked hard to get landing right for Arabian Gulf-based carriers in Kerala airports, and there was the expectation that this would bring very reasonable fares to Kerala. And yet it is clear that someone - the airlines or their political supporters - is gouging passengers going to Kerala from GCC countries.

Political leaders from Kerala are shedding crocodile tears for their constituents at home but nothing is happening to end this exploitation. Indian politicians must work to stop this looting of non-resident Keralites by the airlines.

KV Shamsudheen, Dubai

Not all of Iraq lives in the dark

Your article Iraq pays high price for lack of electricity (July 13) paints with too broad a brush; you say "Iraq" but surely you are describing "Arab Iraq".

Although you briefly mention the Kurdish region in Iraq's north, perhaps you should enlighten your readers that the region, run by the Kurdistan Regional Government, suffers no such lack of electricity.

More important is to explain the reasons why. While the central government in Baghdad is bogged down by corruption and suffocating red tape, the Kurds adopted an open and liberal attitude towards private business and investment.

Two major power stations in Irbil, the regional capital, and Sulaimani, hometown of the Iraqi president, are privately owned and powered by natural gas supplied from gasfields developed by the UAE.

In fact, Taqa, the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, now partly owns the power station in Sulaimani, which is a further vote of confidence.

Shamal Karim, Abu Dhabi