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Sorry state of road affairs

Ahmad Al-Sarraf

The government did establish the Road and Land Transport Authority three years ago and its task is to manage and supervise the construction of Metro and rail lines, maintenance of road networks, carry out technical inspection of vehicles, issue licenses, installation and maintain traffic signals, provide and manage parking lots for vehicles and trucks, supervise driving learning and truck weighing stations.

Almost three years have passed and the Ministry of Public Works, the General Traffic Department, the Kuwait Municipality and the Ministry of Communications continue to oppose handing over any powers to this body, I mean to the Road and Land Transport Authority.

There are rumors that the government intends to do away with this authority even before it has started its work although millions of dinars have been spent to form this authority. This is in spite of the Cabinet approval to transfer 19 subordinate departments from the Ministry of Public Works, the Kuwait Municipality and the Ministry of Communications to this authority as of early November, including the Department of Road Laboratories.

However, a majority of these departments have yet to be moved. The Interior Minister has also requested the Council of Ministers to assign some of the functions of the Roads Authority to the General Traffic Department to prevent the overlapping of functions between the two parties. The Interior Ministry considers it difficult to transfer, for example, the traffic organization and the licenses sector and other departments to the Authority and to keep the rest of the departments associated with it in the Interior Ministry because this will cause severe confusion for both parties.

In this context, MP Riyadh Al-Adasani had submitted a parliamentary query to the Minister of Public Works stating the Audit Bureau had found that the Ministry of Public Works is not serious about implementing the decision of the Council of Ministers, which stipulates that the commencement of the work of the Authority for Roads and Land Transport is on April 1.

The MP questioned why the ministry delayed in transferring the roads projects to the Authority, and about the reports that the period prescribed to address all the roads of Kuwait is 3 years, with a budget of 150 million dinars. Al-Adasani also asked about a report that the Center for Quality Control and Inspection of the Ministry of Works does not have the necessary equipment or accurately follows the factories that produce asphalt mixture. In his parliamentary query, Al-Adasani also asked about the percentage of good roads which is estimated to be only 23 percent, while the remaining roads need to be repaired or maintained. Based on the above, we have seen the government is confused, hasty and takes random decisions and some of the concerned ministries are keen to keep the important departments within their jurisdiction and refuse to transfer them to the new authority, especially since some of them are considered ‘the hen that lays the golden eggs’. We see any clean and self-respected efficient person does not want to be at the head of this disrespectful body.

Hence, we saw the resignation of Eng. Abdul Latif Al-Dakhil as Director General of the Authority. Disclaimer: In yesterday’s article I mentioned the managing director of the Kuwait Investment Authority as Farouk Al-Zanki, the correct name is Farouk Bastaki. And the total funds that are under the management of the Authority exceed $500 billion. Please excuse me. Note: As scheduled, we shall meet with the readers this evening at 7:00 pm at the Al Dana Hotel.

By Ahmad Al-Sarraf

email: habibi.enta1@gmail.com

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