Excavators and hydraulic rams are up in action in the historic Abdullah bin Thani Street within Musheireb area as the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Urban Planning launched another round of demolition drive to pave way for the “Heart of Doha” dream project.
The first phase of the demolition drive had already razed down long rows of buildings, including the iconic ones in the area. The demolition squad yesterday bulldozed many buildings including a brand new, unoccupied, multi-storey building.
The area is historically important for Qatar as it houses the city’s oldest shops and landmark buildings.
In the nearby, Share-e-Kahraba area, an estimated five hundred buildings are facing demolition as the next phase of demolition. A series of buildings were seen barricaded by the contractors ahead of tearing them down. Many of these business establishments have started clearing off their belongings from their respective buildings. Shops are going on “buy one, take one” promotion-spree.
The area is dotted by a huge number of residential buildings. The families who left for their vacations did not want to leave things for chances. They moved to different locations well in advance before they had left. But the shops and business establishments will continue functioning in the existing building until the authorities snap power supply to these buildings.
“Earlier, we were told that the power supply would be disconnected on 2nd of this month. But there was no disruption. Recently it is heard the Kahramaa would disconnect the supply next week. We will open the shop until they disconnect the power”, said the shop manager of a leading optical shop operating in the area for the last 15 years.
The authorities are keen to carry out the demolition and reconstruction with the minimal disruption to normal life in the area. Contrary to the normal complaints heard from the evictions and demolition sites, Share-e-Kharba has a different story to tell.
The evictees are quite happy that the authorities offered them a pretty good compensation. The tenants say many land lords had ceased collecting monthly rents from the shops soon after the urban development authorities had formally announced the demolition drive almost one year ago.
Abdul Khader, an Indian expatriate who has been running a super market in the area for more than fifteen yeas ago, said his land lord had stopped collecting the rent more than one year ago. “I am happy that I received a good compensation package”, he told The Peninsula yesterday. Several shop owners echoed his views on the compensation package offered by the authorities.
The traders and the businessmen in the area have already identified alternate buildings in other locations. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Urban Planning has offered the evictees suitable space at BARWA’s upcoming projects in the Wakra road. But a section of business men and shop keepers are not quite happy with certain conditions set by BARWA.
“Heart of Doha” envisages the development and regeneration of the 35 hectare site located in Inner Doha, close to the historic origins of the city. The project is expected to create a new way of living that has its roots in Qatari culture and heritage; also a new architectural language will reconnect the past with the future.
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