Thursday, July 1, 2010

Utilities cut off to more overcrowded villas in Dubai

The Gulf Today, 1 July 2010

Dubai Municipality (DM) has disconnected power and water supplies to several overcrowded villas in Dubai, forcing hundreds of residents to vacate their premises.
The civic body had intensified its “One Villa-One Family” campaign earlier this month and identified over 70 severely crammed villas. While 27 of them housing nearly 200 people each were already evicted, the crackdown is on to evict people living in the rest of the villas.
Inspectors are now focusing Al Jafiliya area and have severed the utility supplies to 15 villas since last week, confirmed Head of the Environmental Emergency office at the Municipality Khalid Salem Selaiteen.
He said many people had moved out after their power supply was cut off while several others in the area vacated fearing the disconnection of electricity in the scorching summer.
“When we went for disconnecting their utility services, we found some six to seven villas were already vacated,” Suleten said on Wednesday.
He said cranes were used to remove the huge generators being used in some villa compounds while police escorted municipal workers in the raids to villas housing a high number of tenants.
“But nobody created any problem so far,” he said.
Apart from Al Jafiliya, the official said the campaign will now focus more in overcrowded villas in Rashidiya and Mankhool areas as well.
“We had given notices to these villas several times. But, people continue to live in high-risk conditions posing safety threats. Now, we don’t have any option but to force them to vacate by disconnecting their electricity supply,” he added.
“The violations included overcrowding with multiple partitions within rooms to house more occupants. In some premises, 10 to 15 single men were accommodated in small partitioned rooms. Some even lived on rooftops or under staircases. Some families were found sharing with single men,” elaborated Selaiteen.
“The electricity and water connections had been meddled with, and new wires assembled up to allow more people to live in each room. Some tenants also set up separate water pumps inside their villas,” he added.
According to him, all partitions made without the Municipality permission will be removed. Extra rooms, bathrooms or structures constructed without permission wouldn’t be allowed to continue. All of them should be demolished now.
In the beginning of the latest inspection drive aimed at shutting down the multi-occupancy villas, the authorities had urged the illegal occupants to move to areas like Al Qusais, Al Nahda, Al Quoz, Jebel Ali and Muhaisnah, and avail cheap labour accommodation and residential units.

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