On the first day of Ramadan yesterday, many people had to return disappointed from some tents put up for iftar feast (breaking the fast) by the state-backed charity, the Zakat Fund.
One of the large tents put up by the Zakat Fund is near Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Hamad Al Thani mosque behind the airport branch of the Family Food Centre.
A large number of people turned up for iftar at this tent last evening, many in shining new cars, but several of them had to return due to shortage of food.
People visiting Zakat Fund iftar tents in some other areas also complained of similar shortages.
The organisers, however, while confirming there were shortages, said there was a problem with one of the restaurants that supply the food.
“It didn’t provide the quantities that we asked for,” said Ahmed Sultan Al Misfir. In-charge of iftar tents at the Zakat Fund, Al Misfir told The Peninsula on the phone: “Right now I am in a meeting with representatives from this restaurant to sort out the problem”.
“The shortages did happen in some areas where we have tents,” he said optimistic that the problem would be resolved today. “We have given a warning to the erring restaurant.”
Also, in this tent in the Old Airport Area, there is another iftar tent put up by another charitable body. This tent is inside a school. “What happened is that people didn’t go to this tent and all of them came to ours. That worsened the problem.”
According to Al Misfir, the two tents are adjacent to each other every year. “We don’t know what happened this year that people didn’t go there.”
Asked why he thought that this year not only low-income workers but also white-collar expatriates in upper-middle income brackets were also crowding iftar tents and many of them coming in expensive cars, Al Misfir said it was not right on his part to comment.
“Everyone is welcome to our iftar tents, so we cannot comment on that at all.”
The official, however, said that considering that the population of the country has been going up, the Zakat Fund increases the capacity of its tents by 10 to 15 percent.
Anyway, problems arise on the first day of the fasting month, added Al Misfir. “Our internal report on the turnouts and how the feasts went by on the first day is crucial and that guides us for the rest of the holy month.”
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