Thursday, 21 February 2013

Darkness envelopes Souq Khalid as Kahramaa cuts power supply

SANTHOSH CHANDRAN

DOHA Souq Khalid plunged into darkness on Tuesday evening as Qatar Water and Electricity Corporation (Kahramaa) discontinued power supply to over 70 shops at the Souq.

It is believed that Kahramaa’s action is designed to pave the way for Qatar rail project in the Souq area.

Earlier, the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning had reportedly served eviction notices on the shopkeepers about two months back setting January 11 as the deadline for vacating the Souq.

However, according to the shopkeepers, they were waiting for another deadline from Kahramaa to vacate the Souq.

Talking to Qatar Tribune, a restaurant official said, “Normally, Kahramaa serves notices on all shopkeepers before any action. But this time, no notice was issued to us directly.

When we contacted Kahramaa officials they told us that the notice on the deadline for power supply had been given to the proprietor of the Souq.” An employee of a travel agency said, “We know that we have to vacate the Souq and therefore, we have made all necessary arrangements for shifting to a new place.

“Our new office is at furnishing stage and it will take only a few weeks for its completion.

However, we did not have any idea that power supply would be discontinued all of a sudden.” The shopkeepers described high rents in Doha areas and non-availability of shops on affordable rents as a major challenge for them. A shopkeeper said, “We cannot get such a spacious complex at a central location like this at an affordable rent”, one of them remarked.

The 20-year-old Souq, a groundplus- one structure, is one of the most popular and crowded places in Doha with Indian and Egyptian eateries, travel agencies, garment shops, printing press offices, construction companies and the office of one of the largest Indian expatriate forums.

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