Street vendors in Al Quoz
Street vendors in Al Quoz Image Credit: Supplied

I would like to invite your kind attention on the following as I feel it is our last attempt before closing down our business after spending a huge amount.

I have had a restaurant in Dubai’s Al Quoz Industrial Area 4 for over six years, which is functioning according to the rules and regulations. Every year I pay the license fees and required taxes to the municipality. Unfortunately, there has been a serious issue over the past year.

Detrimental to local businesses

Illegal street vendors selling food have conquered all the streets of this area, which has badly impacted our business and reduced it by 50 per cent. It is getting so bad that I’m reaching a position of being unable to pay salaries to my 24 employees.

For example, the biryani which I am selling in our restaurant is at Dh10, whereas these people are selling it for Dh5, and they cook it there itself on a gas cylinder and stove on the street. They also make samosa, pakodas, almost all the items which I am selling in the restaurant.

Hygiene hazard

More importantly, the street vendors have become a threat to the community and the cleanliness in the area has deteriorated.

These street vendors are illegally selling all types of fruits, vegetables, cut meat and fish in the open market and cooking it there itself and selling it. Moreover, they slaughter animals there before selling it. The smell and the debris left behind is unbearable and has ruined the area. When they slaughter the animals they leave feathers and hair lying on the ground and cook in the same vicinity.

As a restaurant owner, I know how much of an offence that is and such conditions are extremely against health regulations in the UAE.

The situation is driving people out of the area, which is mostly inhabited by blue collar workers. This means that our business is even more affected.

Safety issues

The people who are involved in selling the items in the market are also involved in gambling and frequent fights break out because of that. People and especially families have stopped coming to the area after dark because of the environment.

Plea to authorities

For the past six months I’ve made several written complaints, to various departments however they have not been very fruitful. This is affecting not only our business but everybody doing business in this area. It’s also an overall threat to the community.

I would like some action to be taken and frequent checks must be conducted. In the past, some checks have taken place but the vendors leave when that happens and return shortly after. I am a business owner who does everything legally, I need the authorities to protect us.

Official response

The complaint was escalated to Dubai Municipality, but no response had come in till the time of publication.

— The reader is a business owner based in Dubai.

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