“Muscat Municipality is now developing Al Mahaj landfill site in Amerat as a hub of small and medium enterprises. Construction activity is on in full swing and the industrial township is expected to become fully operational by next year-end. Currently, more than 200 shops are ready for occupation in the area,” a senior official in the Amerat division of the municipality said.
Suhail Abdul Sattar Khalak, a foreman at Al Omania International Cement Production company, said, “There are nearly 24 workers in our factory. We are getting orders from nearby companies as cement blocks manufactured here are cheap compared to those made in Rusayl and Ghala. Several companies in Amerat and Muscat have placed orders with us to save on transportation costs.”
Mohammed Shajjid, a shop-owner, said, “We opened our aluminium fabrication shop three weeks ago, and are mainly catering to the growing demands of construction companies in Amerat.”
Meanwhile, there are many takers for shops as businessmen feel that rents will go up once the township becomes fully operational. “I had 11 shops here and all of them have been rented out. The current rent is RO250 per month,” said Mohammed Jamal.
At present, most of the workers in the area are residing in temporary accommodation. “We have to walk for at least 45 minutes to reach the nearest foodstuff shop. “There is no piped water supply and we depend on water tankers for our daily needs,” said Saiful Islam, who is working as an aluminium fabricator in Abu Waddah Trading.
Residents of the area, who were against the presence of the landfill, are a relieved lot as the new industrial township is expected to bring them better infrastructural facilities and jobs. “We are happy that our protests have yielded positive results. This new township will create more jobs and bring prosperity to the area, which was earlier known for its foul smell,” Ahmed al Jabri, a resident of the area, said.