x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Inspectors seek a safe holy month

Public health, safety and civic officers will scour Ramadan tents, eateries and the streets to try to keep people safe from harm and harassment.

DUBAI // The Dubai Municipality will conduct a series of inspections to ensure the holy month passes without any problems. Public health, safety and civic officers will scour Ramadan tents, eateries and the streets to try to keep people safe from harm and harassment, authorities said yesterday. Municipal inspectors have been given special shifts for Ramadan so that checks can be conducted when the daily fast is broken each evening. They will operate three shifts with four inspectors, including at least two female officials, doing the rounds in each, said Mohammed Rafeeq of the Municipality's market management section. "Our inspectors would focus on mosques as many beggars wait outside them," he said. "We will also look at markets and community areas."

The section arrested nearly 500 street vendors, beggars and illegal car washers in May and those numbers are expected to go up during Ramadan, when beggars from both inside and outside the UAE target Dubai as they seek easy touches. The main areas of focus are expected to be public spots in Bur Dubai and Deira, Mr Rafeeq said. Public health and safety officers also have been assigned to check on Ramadan tents, and fines would be slapped on people violating municipal regulations. Officers will be especially vigilant about tent operators having proper permits for shisha smoking after 57 people were killed in a wedding tent fire last year in Kuwait.

"We will intensify inspections in public areas with a focus on Ramadan tents," said Redha Salman, the director of the municipality's public health and safety department. "Tents serving shishas would be checked to see if they have the permit to allow smoking and are abiding by all the requirements." Event companies and hotels violating Ramadan tent rules can be fined from Dh1,000 to Dh50,000. Cafeterias and restaurants, meanwhile, will face stringent inspections by food safety officers during the holy month as several cafeterias serve fried food in the open for people to break their fast in the evening. The municipality has warned that such food should be kept at the right temperature and should be covered well to avoid contamination.

Ahmad Abdul Rahman al Ali, the head of the food inspection section, said hot food must be preserved at temperatures of more than 65°C while cold products should be kept below 5°C. Sweet shops that prepare special Ramadan dishes also will be checked for food safety. Other preparations include sewage and waste treatment, where a plan is being formulated to handle increased demand during the month. @Email:pmenon@thenational.ae