Friday, February 28, 2014

Abu Dhabi window cleaners without safety harness spark concerns - The National Dt. 28 February 2014

Abu Dhabi window cleaners without safety harness spark concerns

Anwar Ahmad


ABU DHABI // It was enough to send shivers up the spines of witnesses – two window cleaners disconnecting their safety cables and walking along the thin ledge of a tower on the 13th floor of Abu Dhabi Mall.

It was also enough for the mall’s management to cancel its contract with the cleaning company.
“The process had been going on for more than half an hour,” said Ramesh Menon, who watched from a nearby building on Monday.

“Despite our alerting the mall management, these cleaning staff continued to work in the same way. They walked on the small edges to clean.

“These floors are the empty blocks in the tower, and hot and rainy weather could have weakened the exterior tiles. So the tiles could break and they might slip and fall.

“These cleaners had not connected their cleaning equipment, such as a brush or bucket, so if these tools slipped from their hands they could fall down and harm others.”

Pradeep Kumar, a window cleaner with MBM Caring for Environment, said workers continued to defy rules stating that safety equipment must be used at all times.

“Window cleaners on high-rise buildings still risk their lives,” said Mr Kumar, whose company was not involved in the mall incident.

“In fact, they are trained to take the job and asked to wear all safety gear but they still take risks. We are trained for three to four months and assigned jobs in smaller buildings first.

“During my two years as a window cleaner I knew a few people who fell from the top and died due to a lack of safety measures.”

Abu Dhabi Municipality regulations state window cleaners must use either a cradle, or two ropes attached to their safety harnesses and the roof of the building.

“In comparison to cradles, ropes are very safe and comfortable where one can sit and clean,” Mr Kumar said.

“Ropes are tied on top very tightly and you can slide down smoothly, whereas cradles are controlled by machines and sometimes they stop working, get jammed, or fail and suddenly fall.
“We call them a single rope but there are two ropes that support the person. Both are hooked with a person’s safety gear.”

The cleaners also use a device called a window keeper, which can be attached to a window like a suction cup.

Mr Menon said he alerted the mall management when he saw the cleaners on the ledge.
“I called the senior manager of the mall who alerted security of Abu Dhabi Mall, who intervened and immediately stopped them,” he said.

 “But within half an hour they had cleaned the windows on three levels. Think how fast they work and how dangerous that is.”

Abu Dhabi Mall said it enforced tough rules on cleaning companies and had cancelled the contract of the company for which the two cleaners worked.

“On receiving the complaints we immediately stopped them and terminated their contracts with the mall as they were not following safety rules,” said Shri Kumar, security site manager at Abu Dhabi Mall.

“They had a safety rope but detached it while cleaning, which is against safety rules. Now we will hire another company for the job.”

Abu Dhabi Municipality said it had taken a number of strict measures to enforce building safety.
Companies who break the rules face fines of between Dh10,000 and Dh20,000.

“Scaffolds, cradles, rope access, cranes and platforms used must conform to the local and international safety standards,” the municipality said.

Please click on the link at The National online to see a video of this activity.

To read this news in original, please visit The National online

Seeding can make the most of clouds - Letters to the editor - The National Dt. 28 February 2014

Seeding can make the most of clouds Cloud-seeding is an interesting topic for those who value our water resources (Meet the UAE cloud-seeding captain who flies into the eye of the storm, February 26). Every time I arrive at the Abu Dhabi or Dubai airport, I get the opportunity to see that this part of the world is blessed with a great quantity and quality of water-filled clouds. By judicious use of the cloud-seeding method, the meteorology department should be able to harvest more rain. Having more water will benefit both farmers and the general community. If it is done properly, this scientific intervention should not affect the blessings given to this country by its desert climate. Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi Read more: Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | on Facebook

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

When will people learn about safety? - Letters to the editor - The National Dt. 26 February 2014

Pictures speak a thousand words, they say.

If you look at the photo I took, you will know how some companies jeopardise the lives of their employees. 

It was shocking.

Can we care less about human lives?

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi 

Read more: Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | on Facebook

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Terry Fox Run Abu Dhabi 2014

Total at Terry Fox Run Abu Dhabi 2014
Held at Abu Dhabi Corniche on Friday, 21 February 2014.
Passionate Clicks by Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
Background music - Santoor, by Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
Visit, bookmark and read
Join Passionate Photographers group on Facebook.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Youth power - Gulf Today - Short Take Dt. 22 February 2014

Youth power

I had an opportunity to attend a forum “Big Achievements. Early Starts” conducted by the Salama Bint Al Nahyan Foundation. The five youth achievers, Abdul Muqeet Abdul Mannan, Adeeb Al Blooshi, Cameron Oliver, Dubai Abulhoul  and Hamda Al Bana were honoured.

They made individual presentations to the audience and followed it up with a one-to-one conversation. They talked about the rationale behind their ideas, how they accomplished them and the difficulties they faced.

All of them were crystal clear about their chosen path and had definite vision for their life ahead.

It also highlighted that these children are definitely an asset to the society and inspire many others as they progressed ahead.

No wonder, the forum opened up the hidden wealth of the nation - that is the “youth.” All those who attended left with confidence that the leaders of the country are rightly investing in local talents with a vision far ahead to make the UAE stand tall and proud among the nations of the world.

Ramesh Menon

Gulf Today, Short Take Dt. 22nd February 2014

To read it in original, please visit Gulf Today online.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Disciplined life - Gulf Today - Short Take - Dt. 15 February 2014

Disciplined life

During my recent visit to Bangalore, I was lucky to be with a close family friend and her mother. She had just lost her father.

After the rituals got over, she had brought her mother to stay with her at Bangalore rather than be at their village house in a faraway place. Just to bring her back to normal life, we decided to take her for a short drive one evening.

On our way, the talk revolved around her late father.

I realised from her and her mother a lot of things that one should emulate in life. Although in good health till he met with an accident, he was farsighted and had maintained a systematic life.

He was keeping a diary and had written even minute details of all things, including his financial dealings in it. He had also listed down in detail all the investments he had made for the family. Surprisingly, a few weeks before he had also made a will and had correctly nominated his wife and children to their respective rights and reserves.

Unfortunately, fate had its own way and it proved handy for his family when he passed away in short time.

Although they lost him, they never felt struck for any important matters related to the day-to-day running of the family because of his systematic way of life. It was visible from the full gratitude and expression of that elderly lady during her reminiscences of her ex-husband and life with him.

To live and leave this world peacefully without causing any trouble to anyone is really a blessing.

Ramesh Menon
Short Take - Gulf Today - Dt. 15 February 2014

To read it in original, please visit GULF TODAY online.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Everlasting innocent expressions of life

Normally, I do not post photos of children. But, these two are exceptional. Vimala and Suraj from Rajasthan. Taking care of traditional family business when their parents stationed away in a different part of the Bangalore city. You might have met them if you are driving through a prominent road of the city. Brilliant business skills. Talking to them whether they would want to do school, they kept silence and said with silent voice, we have to take care of this spot. As we left, we wished them good luck and hope to see them again during our next visit. Everlasting innocent impressions of life.

TOTAL ADP Cricket weekly match in progress

Padma Shri Prahlad Singh Tipanya at Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi

Padma Shri Prahlad Singh Tipanya at Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi
Thursday, 30th January 2014
Brought to you by Cultural Wing, Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi

Learn a lesson - Gulf News Dt. 13 February 2014 - Letters to the editor

Learn a lesson
During my recent visit to Bangalore, I happened to watch a group of monkeys drinking water from taps set up in a small village temple near Bangalore. They were very clever and cautious as they operated the taps and drank water. They very sensibly closed the taps as they left. I was amazed by the way they solved their thirst without wasting even single drop of water. I think we all have a lesson here to learn.
From Mr Ramesh Menon
Abu Dhabi

To read it in original, please visit GULF NEWS online

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Lorry drivers must heed safety rules - Letter to the editor - The National Dt. 07 February 2014

Safety is of paramount importance when it comes to the presence and behaviour of lorries on our highways (Set maximum driving hours for truck drivers, UAE transport companies told,February 3).

It is important for drivers of heavy vehicles to have periodic training about maintaining safety and discipline on the road.

It is essential for logistics controllers to allow sufficient time for vehicles to complete a journey, taking into account all anticipated traffic delays on the route.

It is also very important for other road users to report any rash driving involving heavy vehicles.

All large vehicles should be required to display a reachable contact number for other motorists to contact if they see poor driving, speeding or a faulty vehicle.

This should also be the case for lorries coming into the UAE from other countries. Often their number plates are hidden behind a road permit board.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
To read it in original, please visit, THE NATIONAL online

Padmashre Prahlad Singh Tipania and group at Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi

Padmashre Prahlad Singh Tipanya and group at Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi
Thursday, 30th January 2014
Brought to you by Cultural Wing, Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Best wishes to a dear little one for a beautiful married life ahead

My writing has brought me several friends from various parts of the world. Many of them, I have never seen and know that I will never get to see. Still, we keep communicating with each other over several mutually interesting topics.
Strangely, some of them are in UAE and even known for a long time, but never met!.
Two weeks ago, I received a call from one such friend.
Hello, I am going on leave tomorrow. He continued; this time it is something special. 
I was curious to listen further. My daughter is getting married!

What? I asked him. 
One of the topics during our discussions were about our children and their education and progress. Suddenly, It was a surprise for me that, the little one we were talking all these time is now ready to take up an entirely interesting phase of her life.
Marriage and motherhood completes the transformation of a girl to women.
I wished him, his family and especially his daughter our prayers and blessings and conveyed our apologies to be not able to attend.
It also brought a bigger thought. My children are also growing up, although a few years younger, but they are getting ready to be there. Only difference is that they are boys. So, may be a few years more to wait. Who knows?
Is there any real difference these days to have a boy or a girl as child?
An interesting topic for you to think about.