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Friday, February 26, 2021

Qatar’s CMC calls for central food market to be relocated

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The livestock market in Abu Hamour
The livestock market in Abu Hamour

Qatar’s central food market should be moved from its current location in the middle of a popular Doha residential district because of the health risks it poses to neighbors, the Central Municipal Council (CMC) has reportedly said.

The site of the livestock market in particular creates “odors” and has caused problems with insects and rodents, members of the CMC said yesterday, Arabic daily Al Sharq reported.

Live camels, sheep, goats and other animals are all kept on a site on Haloul Street, which has been built up in recent years and is now surrounded by private houses and residential compounds.

The fish market and wholesale fruit and vegetable market are also nearby.

Council member Abdulrahman Al Kulaifi, who submitted the proposal, said neighbors have complained about “unpleasant odors, health risks” and that the market has lead to an increase in the number of “insects and rodents” that pose a health risk to those living nearby.

He cited the smells coming from the fish market, as well as those of manure and compost, as being “tough on children and the elderly,” the newspaper added.

The fish market in Doha
The fish market in Doha

The elected council, which does not have any legislative powers, recommended that the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME/Baladiya) launch a feasibility study to find an alternative location for the market that is “far away from residential areas”.

The council has spoken to officials from Widam Food Co., the organization responsible for slaughter houses, but was told that the firm only rents the facilities at the market.

The Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) and MME are responsible for the central market, the paper reported Al Kulaifi as saying.

New markets

Problems associated with the market’s location have been raised several times in recent years.

Doha’s rapidly increasing population and its urban sprawl has surrounded the Abu Hamour site, which was previously a quiet district on the edge of the city.

Last summer, in response to the complaints, the MEC announced that three new markets would be created in areas outside central Doha – in Al Sayliyah, Umm Salal and Al Wakrah.

Central Market on Salwa Road.
Central Market on Salwa Road.

These would help meet the needs of the growing population in these areas and reduce the overcrowding and pressure on the current Central Market behind Salwa Road, the MEC said.

A the time of the announcement, the MEC said work on the sites was already underway.

Each market would be on a 20,000 square meter area and would sell fruits, vegetables, meat and fish. No mention was made at the time of the future of the livestock market.

The CMC had first floated the idea of building the new central markets in 2012, but the proposal languished until late 2014 when the prime minister issued a directive to begin its implementation.

At this week’s meeting, the CMC also called for dedicated truck lanes in central Doha and on the Expressways.

It recommended that Ashghal should add more truck weighing stations at the entrances and exits to industrial areas to stop operators from overloading trucks, and that the Traffic Department should do more spot-checks to ensure vehicles are safely loaded.

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