Midnight ordeal: Mohammad Niamatallah who had come with his wife and children had his wallet nicked when he tried leaving the centre on seeing the rush Image Credit: Abhishek Sengupta/XPRESS

Dubai: Never-ending queues and unpleasant experiences have left residents visiting DHA Medical Fitness Centre in Muhaisnah for residence visa medical tests at their wits end.

“It’s a nightmare out here,” Mohammad Niamatallah, accompanied by his wife and three kids, told XPRESS.

“I came for my family’s visa renewal, but seeing the rush I wanted to leave. When I came out with my wife and children, pushing and shoving against a sea of people, I was shocked to find my wallet gone. I had Dh200 in cash, my Emirates ID, driver’s licence and labour card. They are all gone,” said the Bangladeshi PRO officer.

He said cases like his are being reported on a daily basis.

Residents say the main doors of the centre are shut at 8pm, forcing hundreds of late-arriving customers, including women and children, to wait indefinitely outside.

“I came here just after iftar, minutes past 8pm, but found the doors closed. [Since then] I have been waiting to get inside,” a taxi driver told XPRESS close to mid-night this week.

Khurram Javaid Bhatti, partner at a financial services company who had brought his family maid for a new visa, said, “We have been stranded outside in this heat and there’s no one to give us clear indications. We have stuck to the DHA’s new Ramadan timings at this centre, but strangely the doors are closed from inside.”

According to the DHA website, the business hours at this ‘all category 24 hour’ medical fitness centre during Ramadan are from 7am to 4pm and 9pm to 1am. Gates, though, have been found closed almost an hour before the start of the evening shift.

When XPRESS spoke to a security staff, he said, “We are only letting in the first 500 people every evening in this period.”

The situation wasn’t any different inside. “I came here just in time before the door closed and got myself a token after squeezing through an unruly crowd but after realising the counters would open at 9pm I wanted to leave and return later. I wasn’t allowed to do so despite pleading several times with the staff. It was very uncomfortable waiting with a baby amongst hundreds of other strangers, mostly men,“ said an irate Priyanka Dhar, who had come for visa renewal with her two-year-old baby.