Dubai: A few demolished villas in Satwa stand as a reminder to thousands of other residents that they should speed up their search to find a new place to live.
Bulldozers have been busy demolishing old villas and shanty houses, which were considered an eyesore right behind the skyscrapers on Shaikh Zayed Road.
Several square kilometres of area between Shaikh Zayed Road and Satwa Road will be cleared of all old houses making way for a huge garden city, Gulf News has learnt.
Expected to be named 'Jumeirah Garden City', the project runs parallel behind the towers on Shaikh Zayed Road from the Trade Centre Roundabout to Al Safa Park.
The project, which is still in the design and planning stage will have several gardens, canals and green areas. The canals will be linked to Dubai Creek's extension passing through Safa Park. These canals will also pass through Satwa, Jumeirah and Al Wasl areas.
Details of the project are not available but it aims to make the areas one of the most beautiful places in the emirate. The areas will also have huge ponds. Officials at Dubai Municipality refused to comment saying that they were not involved in this project.
Thousands of residents living in decades-old villas in Satwa have been served with eviction notices by the Land Department.
Among these residents are families and bachelors who have been living in the area for over a decade mainly because of the cheap rent and proximity to the market area.
Jaleel, a Pakistani resident, said that it was proving a nightmare for him to find a place to live, more so because of him being a bachelor.
"We were told that a new project was coming here and that is why the houses were being demolished. I work as a driver for an Arab family. My work place is close to my house. I pay Dh600 for a bed space and was able to save but now I don't think that is going to be possible. I make a living out of Dh1,800," he said.
Mohammad Jafar and his family have been living in one of the villas. He has been sharing the place with an Arab family for the past three years. He works as a telephone operator for a construction company in Dubai.
Sending families home
For him the eviction notice means sending his wife and six-year-old daughter back to India as he is not sure of being able to find suitable place for his family for the same rent that he has been paying in Satwa.
"I pay Dh2,000 per month in rent and my income is Dh5,500. Where I went to look for accommodation I could not afford the rent that was quoted. Even in shared accommodation it was Dh1,800 to 2,000 for a single room, also my daughter's examinations are over and we can look for admissions in India," he said.
A few UAE nationals who live in villas told Gulf News that they heaved a sigh of relief when they learnt they would be compensated by the Land Department.
One of them who did not want to be named said: "I don't know when the compensation will come but it is good to know that we will have something to look forward to. We were told that the compensation will come in the form of money or a new house."
Some companies who have provided their employees with accommodation in some of the villas are looking for alternative accommodation in Sharjah.
Indian Iqbal Mohammad and Pakistani Younis Khan are among the lucky ones as they have found bedspaces for Dh500 each in Karama.
We are one of the thousands of people affected in the Jumeirah Garden project, may we ask where can we possible look for a place to relocate ourselves where the rental cost is low as our salary in Dubai is not increasing but cost of living is terribly increasing.
Posted: March 12, 2008, 09:49
I live in Satwa in a building of three years only. We have been informed by the neighbours that the building is going to be demolished by December. Finding accommodation is a nightmare in Dubai and Sharjah now.
Posted: March 12, 2008, 09:44
After the demolshing of old villas started it is very hard to search for a new place to live with low rent. My four kids are studying here.
Posted: March 12, 2008, 09:32
There is nothing wrong in city beautification and it is nice thing. But the government or developers must pay enough compensation to the shop owners and residents for the investments they made. Most of shop owners in the area do make investments out of borrowed funds. The building owners who are Emiratis will naturally be compensated but the plight of thousands of small investors need to be looked sympathetically. It will only enhance the reputation of his highness as a great ruler with clear vision on development and pain of common man.
Posted: March 12, 2008, 09:12
The Dubai Municipality should provide alternative accommodation to all the residents living in Satwa at reasonable rates. Moving to a new residential area is not easy especially with high rates.
Posted: March 12, 2008, 08:18