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More than safe homes


By the Gazette Editorial Board

The post 2013 governments have been paying serious attention to the issue of removing slums, especially in unsafe areas.  Whether these districts are demolished or upgraded, the process of moving slum-dwellers from the places in which they have been living for years is not an easy one.

The so-called Maspero Triangle in the centre of the capital, presents the most recent example of the results of hard negotiations which the government had to hold with the residents who resisted the idea of leaving the place. The government, however, managed to come to a satisfying agreement with landlords and tenants by giving them several options.

It is when slum-dwellers get their new residences that they appreciate the privilege of living in a better environment. In the few projects which the government has completed, the residents have been offered free, safe and clean housing in which they can start a whole new life.

The government has been keen on building modern homes in integrated agglomerations provided with basic amenities and green areas. Yet, some residents complain that the services are incomplete. And it will be no surprise if problems related to maintenance surface soon, because poor real estate maintenance is a major shortcoming throughout the country.

However, the government has decided to establish a company that will be in charge of the relocation of slum-dwellers in Cairo and of carrying out maintenance work on buildings and preserving the civilised look of these projects.

This is a very good idea because these people deserve more than just safe homes; they should receive continuous, quality services. Their relocation should be followed by other measures that make them feel and act like fully-fledged citizens in integrated communities.

But it is to be hoped that the proposed company will be spared the bureaucracy and red tape which turn performance into routine that lacks creativity and enthusiasm.   

The state's inclination to cater to marginalised citizens by creating better living environments for them fits in with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi's promise to focus in his second term on building the capacities of individuals. This will be achieved through improving education, health and other social services which would give people, the poor strata in particular, a sense of dignity.

Citizens who live in clean, safe and developed areas and feel that the government is attending to their basic human needs would surely be an asset to the country's human resources.

The fact is that the creation of slums in the first place, is an expression of a bigger problem that has to do with lack of development in population-repelling governorates. So, by developing the newly-created communities, the government will be addressing the core of the problem.

VOLGOGRAD, Russia, June 23, 2018 (MENA) - The Egyptian national football team arrived on Saturday in the Russian city of Volgograd for their last match in the FIFA World Cup against Saudi Arabia.

Both teams have no chance to qualify for the next stage. The qualifiers from Group A are hosts Russia and Uruguay, who beat the two Arab squads.

The Pharaohs and Saudi Arabia will only be playing for pride after being crashed out of the competition.

The match will be played at 4:00 pm Cairo Local Time on Monday.

CAIRO, June 23, 2018 (MENA) - Egypt's Supreme Council of Universities (SCU) announced on Saturday that the 2018/2019 academic year will start on September 22.

The council, at a meeting Satuday, said the next academic year will end on May 30, 2019, according to a timetable.

Higher Education and Scientific Research Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar chaired the meeting in the presence of Education and Technical Education Minister Tarek Shawki.

CAIRO, June 23, 2018 (MENA) - Mayor of German city of Frankfurt Peter Feldmann arrived in Cairo on Saturday, leading a high-level delegation of parliamentarians.

The delegation is scheduled to meet with senior Egyptian officials.

ALEXANDRIA, June 23, 2018 (MENA) - Alexandria's public funds crimes investigation department has arrested a man in possession of $85,713 over illegal foreign exchange trading charges.

Acting upon a tip-off, the police busted the suspect outside a bank in El-Gomrok district in western Alexandria.

The man admitted his crime during interrogation. As the money was confiscated, he has been referred to the prosecution.

CAIRO, June 23, 2018 (MENA) - The Customs Department of Cairo International Airport othwarted an attempt to smuggle mobile phones worth LE 800,000.

An official source with the department said late Friday that 79 IPhone 8 devices were found in possession of a passenger coming from Dubai.

All legal measures were taken and the devices were seized.

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