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Posted On: 6 April 2015 07:37 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:15 pm

Buildings being added with illegal floors due to shortage of affordable housing

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Thanks to a yawning shortage of affordable housing, in some areas of the city people have now begun adding illegal floors to buildings, most of which are illegal themselves, says a civic councillor.

In Madinat Khalifa (South), for example, there are over a hundred buildings whose tenants have built illegal make-shift structures on rooftops or illegally partitioned apartments and villas.

“Until a year ago, such buildings in the area were only about 40 to 60. Their number has gone up to over a 100 and the next year, I am sure it would double,” said Mohamed Shaheen Al Atiq (pictured).

A member of the Central Municipal Council (CMC) from the area, he said many of these over 100 buildings were made illegally themselves so they lack safety requirements.

“On top of it, people are adding illegal floors or partitioning apartments in these buildings in violation of municipal laws, so one can imagine the kind of danger they pose to people’s safety,” he said in comments published by local Arabic daily Al Raya yesterday.

Talking of illegal floors, he said tenants are building structures made of wood and cement blocks on rooftops without informing landlords.

Al Atiq said he finds it surprising how these buildings that were made years ago in violation of civic laws were provided electricity and water connections by Kahramaa, the utility distributor.

According to Al Atiq, the situation as regards affordable housing has come to such a pass that now even illegal sub-tenants living in dangerous make-shift homes have begun further partitioning their living quarters into pigeonholes for rental income to pay increasing rent.

Five families are sharing a space which is actually meant for two, putting immense pressure on services like electricity, water and sewage. “Then, imagine their safety!”

In other cases, small accommodations meant for fewer people are being shared by no less than 20 to 30 low-income workers.

The CMC member said that illegal partitioning of apartments and villas and addition of illegal floors to ramshackle buildings are going on in the area in flagrant disregard for people’s safety.

Naturally, those indulging in such illegal activities are not bothered about engineering and technical specifications for flats, villas and buildings and safety requirements.

This is going on despite the fact that memories are fresh in people’s mind about two crashes that took place in the locality.

In one crash workers living in a building were out on duty when it collapsed. One worker was inside at the time and he was seriously injured.

In another collapse, a building caved in near a construction site. The thing is such buildings were constructed using substandard materials.

Al Atiq said he has informed the municipality concerned of the violations but for some strange reasons they are least bothered.