Groceries and restaurants in Doha’s Industrial Area are facing the ire of residents, mostly low-income groups of Asian workers, for charging “exorbitant” rates.
Workers in and around the streets near the Al Attiya Market complained many groceries and restaurants in the area have now become unaffordable.
“Newspapers recently reported that shops and restaurants need permission from the authorities to raise prices of goods. However, we don’t think the authorities are aware of what is happening in the shops in most parts of the Industrial Area,” said a worker at a building material company on Street 42. He and his friends said groceries and eateries had become unaffordable in the past year.
The managing director of a company too endorsed the views of the low-paid workers. He said a 15m plastic wire used for tying boxes is sold at most shops in the Industrial Area at QR15 and above while in Doha, the price is QR10 or even less.
“Likewise, groceries in the area charge almost 40 to 50% more than in Doha,” he said. He said everything from cigarettes to even nail cutters and scissors costs more in the Industrial Area compared to Doha.
Even though most groceries within Doha charge slightly more compared to prices in the hypermarkets, in the Industrial Area the rates are much higher. “We do not know where to lodge a complaint as we don’t know any offices in the city,” said an Indian electrician of a construction firm on Street 38. He said residents of the Industrial Area realise the difference only when they come shopping to Doha in the weekends.
Even textile shops charge more compared to outlets in Doha, the workers said.
“Earlier there was feeling that shops here are cheaper than in Doha. However, that is not true – we are actually forced to pay more at shops here,” said an Indian, working in a fabrication unit. He said most eateries in the Industrial Area kept increasing the prices in recent times as nobody bothered to complain.
Some workers said while officials carried out regular inspections at groceries within Doha, such checks seem to be rare in the Industrial Area. “As a result, most shops get away charging higher prices from poor people like us,” said a worker of a service station near Al Ahli Bank roundabout.
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