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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 13 November 2018

Single men to be moved out of Sharjah area

The workers, mainly Asian, have been given one week to comply with the ruling before the municipality begins to cut electricity and water to their buildings.
The streets in Samnan seem quiet during the day but residents say that is not the case at night when groups of workers gather to chat, socialise or play cricket. Satish Kumar / The National
The streets in Samnan seem quiet during the day but residents say that is not the case at night when groups of workers gather to chat, socialise or play cricket. Satish Kumar / The National

SHARJAH // A decision to move hundreds of bachelors out of a Sharjah suburb has been welcomed by Emirati and expatriate families in the area.

The decision came after complaints by residents in Samnan over a lack of privacy, noise, unruly behaviour and thefts.

The workers, mainly Asian, have been given one week to comply with the ruling before the municipality begins to cut electricity and water to their buildings.

“There has been many thefts and harassment cases in the area,” said Aqeel Al Mazroui.

“Before it was a beautiful place shared between Emiratis and Arab families.”

The Emirati legal counsellor, who has lived in Samnan for 36 years, said the men were mainly labourers and drivers who often parked their large lorries close to the villas overnight, turning it into an “industrial zone”.

“They gather in the evening on the streets and start playing cricket, creating noise and disturbance,” he added.

Wael Zeyad said many Emirati families had moved out of the area as more villas were turned into bachelor accommodations.

“Before, this area was only Emiratis now there are one or two families left,” said the Syrian father of two, who added that his wife does not go outside alone in the evening because she is wary of large groups of men.

“By the end of the day, this road is packed with people, they sit outside and sometimes in large groups,” said the 32-year-old who owns a villa and has lived there for 15 years.

Many of the villas in the neighbourhood – many in disrepair – are used as accommodation for single workers.

As part of the ruling, the worst buildings will be pulled down, while the better homes will be repaired and used by Emirati families who are in need of emergency housing.

“We have issued 275 warnings for bachelors living in the area,” said Omar Al Shariji, the assistant director of Sharjah Municipality.

“They are required now to visit the municipality to coordinate with them how they will move out of Samnan.”

In April 2012, the emirate’s ruler issued a similar decree ordering bachelors to leave the suburb of Halwan after complaints by Emirati families who were worried that the men were peering over their villa walls and into their homes.

That same month, single male workers living in Al Shabha, Umm Khanour and Layyah were also told to move out of the area as they were being set aside for families.

Many of the workers were relocated by their companies to Ajman and Umm Al Quwain.

Pakistani worker N N, who shares a villa in Samnan with 12 compatriots, said the house is convenient for their work and the rent is cheap.

“I live with 12 people. It’s good to live with your countrymen and cheaper than to rent alone,” he said.

“Now we are searching for a new place to live.”

tzriqat@thenational.ae