THE buzz word in Doha’s original but soon-to-be-demolished business district, Mohammed Bin Jasim these days is not money but uncertainty - and a lot of it.
Traders of every category are uncertain as to when the hammer will fall, in the absence of a calendar or even a date.
Government officials at the Urban Planning and Development Authority (UPDA) had earlier this month told Gulf Times that the first phase of the demolition of the Mohammed Bin Jasim area (Musheirib) will begin in January after initially being planned for September 2008.
However, confusion abounds among businesses, ranging from pharmacies, laundries, tailors, cafeterias, clinics, and showrooms. Some businesses claim to have been compensated, while others are still in the dark.
“We received a notice about a month ago and have already been compensated by the authorities,” an official of a library of 12 years near Shara’a Kaharba told Gulf Times.
“The problem is, our rent was QR10,000 per month while it is not less than QR30,000 – QR40,000 any where in Qatar for a shop like ours,” he added.
They have not been notified when electricity and water will be cut for final eviction.
Others said they will simply return to their countries, as it will be impossible for them to start over.
“I’d been running my barber shop since 1991. I’ve been notified and not been paying rent for one year now (QR1,400). But I’m not looking for another shop. It’s difficult to start afresh when you are 60 years old,” the barber said.
How and who will be compensated is causing more confusion as well. While some said their landlords might have picked up the compensation without telling them, others questioned whether the payout will be for the properties only or for the cost of moving goods and value of stock.
“So far baladiya officials have come here five times since 2006, on each occasion asking for different things. First was a copy of commercial registration, then they asked how much I paid for my office furniture, and then inventory estimates. It’s very unclear to me,” managing partner of a hardware store said.
Fearing loss of business he leased three shops for QR5,000 per month each in different areas of Doha and even though the business has not moved– since actual demolition has not started – he has been paying rent for all three locations for 18 months now.
Meanwhile, power was cut on Jilmoud Street starting from Jasim Bin Mohammed Road (facing Souq Waqif across the road) to Akai Roundabout on October 20.
One owner who was moving inventory using an emergency light told Gulf Times he has found a shop in New Rayyan for QR2,000 per month inside a “really old building”. He had been paying Qr1,800 for the shop he has been running for 15-years.
But others were not that lucky. An Iranian was seen trying to stitch mattresses at his shop under a dimming candle and said he has applied for a shop in Souq Waqif but has not had a response yet. He has been running the business for 40 years now.
The darkness on Jilmoud Street spreads to the Akai Roundabout then takes a right turn where all the showrooms and other offices have also been evacuated all the way till the 10-storyed Al Jawhara Serviced Apartments and further to the signal. Groups of men now play cards in deserted corners near the abandoned Akai and Pioneer showrooms.
Amnesia's been waiting for 10 months for his store in Souq Wagif. He always get's told to wait.
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