I was living in one of the most peaceful residential areas an expat could dream for the last 12 years. I am talking about Block 1, Abu Halifa.
In the last few years, a lot of new buildings have been constructed and almost most of them have been turned into labor camps. Right now, in front of my building, there are three huge labor camps housing thousands of bachelors.
We have totally lost our privacy and we hardly go down anymore feeling conscious of the fact that a lot of people are staring at you.
I was born and brought up in Kuwait and have been in this country since the early 70’s. But now a peaceful residential area, where most people are well placed expats working for the oil companies, is slowly being transformed into a another Hasawi … which is heartbreaking.
How can the authorities permit such things to happen in an area where families have lived for decades? We feel threatened, and a once serene block has now become a hangout for bachelors. We now no more send our teenage daughters down to play. You will only understand our pain if you were living in our block.
On one side they talk of evicting bachelors from residential areas and on the other hand flood in thousands of laborers. Is this just ? Why aren’t our values and concerns respected?
Answer: The situation is really deplorable but this is only due to the fact that some landlords are renting out their whole buildings to companies who employ hundreds of bachelors. While there is a law against renting out flats in family areas, there is no law in renting out the same facilities to companies.
Having said that, there is, however, a law which says that bachelors can’t live in the same areas as families. But the problem here lies in the families not complaining to the concerned authorities against the “invasion” of bachelors into their areas. The bachelors themselves are not at fault but the companies which have housed them.
The Municipality also, for various reasons known to all — even members of the Parliament, sometimes turns a blind eye to such housing … but this doesn’t mean you should keep quiet. The Kuwait government has, over the last few years, started taking action against such occupancies provided there is a complaint from the families. So, the best thing to do is for a number of family representatives to complain to the Kuwait Municipality in the area against the problems they face because of the bachelors in their area.
The Municipality is required to take action on such complaints because all the labor camps have to be away from the family areas… regardless of the fact if the bachelors are housed in a single building or several such groups of buildings.