SHARJAH // A decision to demolish homes leased to bachelors in a Sharjah neighbourhood has been welcomed by Emirati families living in the area.
The decree by Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed, Ruler of Sharjah, will have the mainly Asian workers moved out of villas in the Samnan and Halwan areas.
The worst buildings will then be pulled down.
Speaking on the Sharjah Radio programme Khat Mubasheer on Monday, Dr Sheikh Sultan ordered authorities to start demolitions in neighbourhoods built for Emirati families.
"The privacy of Emirati families is a priority," he said. "The families must be comfortable in their homes with a sense of safety and peace."
Many of the villas occupied by the workers are owned by Emiratis, who rent them out to companies as accommodation for bachelors.
The dilapidated buildings will be demolished and the owners compensated, while others that need only remedial work will be renovated.
Dr Sheikh Sultan's ruling came in response to a complaint made to the radio show by an Emirati resident, who identified herself as Umm Omar, who said villas in both neighbourhoods were being occupied by groups of single men.
Majid Mohammed, an Emirati who lives in Halwan, said he was worried about men looking into his and other families' compounds.
"It is embarrassing to find someone peeping into your home," Mr Mohammed said.
"Most bachelor workers would do this at least once in the neighbourhood."
Salah Al Kaabi, another resident of Halwan, said families out walking in the area were not safe and often received unwanted attention.
"They look and look," Mr Al Kaabi said. "They don't belong here. They should have their separate accommodations."
He said there were concerns that the area was not safe for women to go out alone, especially in the evenings.
But Abdul Rahman Khan, a Pakistani worker whose company rents one of the villas in Halwan, denied there was a problem, and said the men he lived with were all well behaved.
"We are not causing any problems to the families here. All of us are well behaved and we also have families in our country," Mr Khan said.
He said he was not certain where his company was planning to relocate them.
Sultan Al Mualla, the director general of Sharjah municipality, said it was co-operating with the department of planning to put the decree into action immediately.