No industrial activities in residential areas

MUSCAT, Feb 23 – The Muscat Municipality has cautioned against any commercial activity that hampers the tranquillity of residential neighbourhood. The warning came amid raids on industrial activity by way of establishing workshops, warehouses and garages in various residential areas in the city. “It not only does violate the civic laws, but also creates nuisance to the residents. Violators will face strict penal action,” warned an official at the General Directorate of the municipality. The civic authorities, in cooperation with the Royal Oman Police (ROP), have conducted a series of raids in many parts of the city, including Wadi Kabir, from where violations were tracked, last week.

“Legal proceedings have been initiated for carrying out unauthorised plumbing activities in a residential building,” the official said. Article 115 of the civic law prohibits establishment of workshops, factories or crushers, or sale of construction materials in residential neighbourhoods which cause inconvenience to the public. According to the official, properties should not be used for purposes other than what they have been registered for under the building permit. “There have been complaints from residents in areas like Ruwi, Wadi Kabir, Muttrah, etc about the presence of warehouses and workshops in their areas,” he said.

The municipality, in cooperation with the Ministry of Housing, will check the title deeds of properties about which complaints are received, to ascertain the purpose for which the land has been registered, he said. “The authorities will take all necessary steps to ensure building owners comply with the law. No industrial activity will be allowed in residential areas. They should be shifted to the respective designated areas,” he said. Warehouses set up to store building materials, including electrical gadgets and cement, pose a major health hazard to the residents. Heavy trucks frequent these areas, obstructing traffic movement and often leading to collision of vehicles.

While storage of electrical equipment poses safety threat to residents, the risk from cement dust is many, including lung function impairment and allergies. In some cases, alterations are also made by occupants of the properties in collusion with the owners to suit their activities. According to Muscat Municipality Building Regulation Act, no alteration is allowed in the approved permit, drawings or any other official document unless prior approval is obtained from the department concerned. “No alterations shall be endorsed unless signed and stamped by the department that issued the permit or the document,” says Article 103 of the Act.