SHARJAH // Emirati families living in the Sharjah suburb of Samnan say they are now enjoying peace and quiet because the area has been cleared of single men.
The decision to force bachelors and labourers, who often lived in crowded and unsafe villas, to relocate was made in August by Sharjah Ruler Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi.
Retiree Awad bin Ali, who has lived in the area for 13 years, said that living conditions were now far better than in previous years.
“Ever since the crackdown began, the area started clearing of workers who lived illegally here in villas,” the 75-year-old said.
“Previously, in the evening and on weekends, this area would have been flooded with noisy workers with their unruly behaviour.”
According to residents, the men were mainly Asian and lived in overcrowded old villas.
Part of Sheikh Sultan’s ruling stated that villas deemed uninhabitable would be demolished, while better villas would be repaired and used by Emiratis in need of emergency housing.
Since November, Sharjah Municipality has issued warnings to about 20 per cent of homes in the area, whose tenants were found to be in breach of tenancy regulations.
“Our officers have been making sure that every home in Samnan is abiding with the ruling,” said Khalifah Al Suwaidi, head of the housing control department at the municipality.
“One family per villa is allowed, and bachelors [have been] relocated to other parts of the emirate. Labourers are allowed housing only in the industrial areas of Sharjah,” said Mr Al Suwaidi.
When people in breach of rules were found, they were given one week to comply before the municipality cut electricity and water to their building.
Pakistani Said Ashraf, who runs an interior design company and has been renting a villa in Samnan for 14 years, said that municipality officers have paid him several visits to ensure no one was living at his home illegally.
“Inspectors counted and documented the occupants of the villa and verified our tenancy contracts to be in order to make sure we were not sharing our home with others,” said the father of four.
“It has been really quiet here. My children can play on the street without fear from workers who used to live in many of the villas near us.”
Abdullah Naser, who has been living in the area with his family for two years, said that he had seen several families living under one roof being evicted.
“The villa across from mine has been cleared of at least three families. We just hope that the municipality keeps a tight grip on the area so that it doesn’t go back to what is used to be,” said the 41-year-old Emirati.
In 2012, a similar ruling was issued to ban men from the Halwan area after complaints by Emirati families of unruly behaviour from bachelors living near them.