Posted on August 23, 2012

The Central Municipal Council (CMC) which reconvenes early next month after the long summer break, is slated to meet representatives of engineering consultancy firms to get apprised of the woes they face.

What seems to have prompted the public representative body to interact directly with engineering consultancy firms are the allegedly soaring charges they have been levying for making building plans.

According to the chairman of the CMC, Saudi Al Hanzab, the charges for making a building plan have gone up more than three times — from QR3,000 earlier to an incredible QR20,000. “We want to know the reasons for the sharp increase.”

On top of this fee, a citizen has to pay additional fee for plan approval to the civic authorities. So, citizens are burdened with more and more charges.

Although a sub-committee of the CMC has drawn up an extensive report on the issue of building plans and the fee charged by engineering consultancies for these services, Al Hanzab said the Council would still meet representatives from these firms to know their viewpoint.

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Al Hanzab told The Peninsula that Qatari laws make it clear that the owner of an engineering consultancy must be a Qatari and must be involved in its day-to-day business. “So we will also be running checks to make sure that no firm is exploiting the law by simply registering a firm in the name of a Qatari…If we find that a Qatari is only the licensee, we will insist that the authorities concerned take appropriate action.”

Al Hanzab was referring mainly to the plans and civic approvals of houses citizens build for their use or for rental income. He rued that earlier, civic approvals for house plans used to be had quickly but now the process has become too cumbersome and approvals take about two to three months.

Al Hanzab said that for the first time the CMC has begun putting complaint boxes in major public places like malls and shopping complexes to know people’s grievances. Most complaints are about roads, street lighting, lack of public parks, location of schools and lack of playgrounds for children.

“Our plan is first to sort out these complaints and put them into categories according to their nature, and then schedule them for discussion in the House one by one. And we will be inviting the complainants to the House to watch the proceedings and debates,” said Al Hanzab. The CMC’s idea is to be in direct touch with the people, both nationals and expatriates. He said the CMC will reconvene on September 4 and has several key issues lined up for discussions, aside from the aforementioned ones.

The CMC is also pressing that when a residential building is made plans should be in place to have at least two parking slots for one tenant family.


source: The Peninsula

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