An estimated 5,000 to 7,000 people, including single workers, shopkeepers and families, are expected to be displaced from Al Musherib locality, which is earmarked for large-scale demolition to give way to modern structures, says a Qatari social activist.
“This is not a small number,” Hassan Al Jefairi told this newspaper yesterday, adding that the fact that they would need to be re-housed would put some pressure on housing supplies. The house rentals, which have now been marginally falling, may be negatively impacted due to the housing requirements of the population being displaced from this area. “It’s not a small area. The density of population here is very high since it is one of the oldest and busiest business districts of Doha,” said Al Jefairi. Many resident single workers and families have been living here for years.
Once displaced, they would be looking for mostly affordable housing whose supplies remain restricted since invariably all the constructions of new residential units are for upper-middle and high-end users. “Not enough attention has been paid by developers to building affordable housing, including small, one bedroom apartments or studio flats, so the shortage of housing in these categories, for people with limited income, continues,” said the social activist and businessman.
“So, there would be a problem when so many people are out looking for cheaper housing in a short span of time. A similar problem was witnessed when some other areas of Doha were razed a few years ago,” he said.
Shops are also in short supply as new commercial properties have not been developed in and around Doha. This is the reason for shop rentals keep shooting up while house rents have begun to ease. There were shops in areas which were demolished in the city a few years ago. The affected shopkeepers moved mainly to the suburbs into what were small commercial complexes. But now that the National Area is being razed, the shopkeepers who would be displaced would also need alternative commercial premises, argued Al Jefairi.
“Effort should be made to provide them, both residents and shopkeepers, alternative premises,” he said.
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