“Alleys inside the souq had knee-deep water after the Monday morning downpour,” said Nawal Hamza, who has been running a shop in this traditional market place for five years now. “Each time it rains heavily, the market is inundated as it stands in a low-lying area,” he said.
Anwar al Balushi, who owns a garments store said muddy water that gushed into the souq during Monday morning's rain damaged the items he had displayed outside his shop.
Footwear, garments and spices displayed outside shops to attract shoppers were among the goods damaged.
“I am here for the last 15 years and this is something that we face each time it rains heavily,” he said. “Many others here too have lost goods.” Balushi said he has approached Muscat Municipality officials about the problem. “The situation makes it evident that nothing has been done so far.
“Drainage is a big issue in Muttrah area and with the increase in the number of people residing here, it calls for immediate action by authorities,” he said.
A municipality official said, “Muttrah faces challenges like poor drainage, insufficient parking space and lack of recreational and green areas. Muscat Municipality aims to modernise the infrastructure and also protect the heritage and culture of the old wilayat.” The project will be carried out in two phases considering the traffic.
“The project includes developing the coastal road, the sea-facing entrance to Muttrah Souq, Muttrah Fort and the footpath, besides building a facility for small boats.
“The second phase includes developing new parkings, internal roads and residential houses, besides setting up a multi-storeyed parking for 1,000 vehicles,” the official said.