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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - Criminals and drug abusers find a perfect hideout at these uninhabited houses.
The Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Municipality is set to demolish 44 old houses that have reportedly been abandoned for a long time.
"So far, seven of these have been brought down," said Munther bin Shekar Al Zaabi, director-general, RAK Municipality.
"The civic body contacted the owners of all these houses for demolishing or maintaining them so that they do not pose risk to people's life."
Some old structures, in the old RAK city, have been referred to the Monuments and Museums Department, as part of a "plan to turn the entire area into a tourist site".
"The plots of demolished houses and buildings are distributed among eligible Emirati nationals so they can build new houses on them."
"Most of these abandoned buildings had been built in violation of law a long time ago in several areas, mostly in Al Maamura, Julphar, Dahan, Al Rifaa, Al Jazirat Al Hamra, and Awafi," he pointed out.
Shaimaa Al Tunaiji, director of the public health department at the civic body, said they will keep removing all the illegal old farms and houses in the near future wherever they are located.
"An extensive survey of all these houses has been recently conducted in collaboration with the RAK Police."
The department concerned had earmarked up to 400 abandoned houses some time back in various areas.
The municipality has already demolished 64 deserted farms and houses as part of the first phase of the project.
Dens for anti-social elements
Ahmad Ibrahim, an Emirati national, said criminals and drug abusers find a perfect hideout at these uninhabited houses. "I had alerted the RAK Police and municipality about these houses before."
Muhammad Salem, another Emirati, said they have complained about these abandoned houses. "They pose a grave risk to public safety and security."
Aisha Darwish, an engineer with the building department at the RAK Municipality, said: "We will either raze or restore these buildings which have mostly become dens and hubs for absconding people, criminals, infiltrators, and drug abusers, even as they abound with rubbish, rodents, and dangerous reptiles."
Focus on internal roads
The civic body is gearing up to pave internal roads in collaboration with the department of public works, Aisha Darwish, an engineer with the building department at the RAK Municipality.
"This is in response to public needs and in line with the RAK Municipality's plans to boost and promote the image of the emirate which has become a leading attraction nationwide."
However, no roads to the private farms are planned for the time being, Al Zaabi noted.
"Priority is right now for the roads in the traditional residential areas."
"The municipality is also cooperating with the Ministry of Infrastructure to implement a plan in the areas close to the borders of other emirates."
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