Watchmen make a killing out of bachelor tenants

Afkar Abdullah And Amira Agarib
Filed on May 6, 2007

SHARJAH — Building watchmen are apparently taking advantage of the Sharjah Municipality's decision to evict bachelors from the emirate's residential areas.

Watchmen of several residential complexes in the emirate are demanding bribes from bachelors who have stayed on in the buildings despite the ban in return for not reporting the matter to the civic body.

“We fear of being asked to vacate the apartments by the landlord. If we don't pay the building watchmen, they threaten us,” said N. Srinivasan, a bachelor living in Sharjah's Rolla Square area.

“We know that the civic body has earmarked industrial areas for bachelors, but it's difficult to find accommodation. So I am forced to continue living in a residential building where families stay. I am being protected by the building watchman who often threatens to report the matter to the municipality if I do not pay him the money whenever he demands it,” said MA who stays in the Al Zahra area.

Watchmen demand anything between Dh100 and Dh200, he added.

Commenting on the issue, a Sharjah Municipality official said only landlords, not watchmen, are held responsible for any kind of violation of the civic body's regulations. “Municipality inspectors are working hard to evict all bachelors from residential areas and have launched hotlines to receive complaints in this regard.”

A watchman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said most of the bachelors rent flats saying that they will be staying with their families. He admits to taking Dh100 from each bachelor in his building. "We all need money since the cost of living has gone up drastically in Sharjah and our salary is simply not enough to survive."

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