After months of waiting, the sprawling Wadi Kabir Industrial Area is back in action. The narrow alleyways of the area, dotted with spare part shops and garages, is home to thousands among the expatriate workforce who survive on meagre salaries and hard-earned daily wages. The period of the lockdown was tough for most of the shop owners as well workers in the area, but with lifting of restrictions, they are once again hopeful of getting their life back on track.
The bylanes are back to their chaotic self, with cars lined up for repair and every passing car being expectantly approached by a spare part seller or a workshop mechanic to attend to.
Mamoon ul Rahman, who works in an old spare parts shop, said, “I am so happy to work after a long gap. It was nice approaching prospective customers. The business is slow, but we are confident it will improve slowly. It was tough, but I managed with food relief kits provided by charitable outfits during the lockdown.”
As Muscat Daily visited the area, Hamdi Saeed, a garage owner, was seen standing at his garage entrance which was cordoned with a red and white striped hazard warning tape and a poster asking visitors to maintain COVID-19 safety measures. “No customers today, but it feels good to remain open. We have been sleeping in our rooms from the last couple of months but we are glad the lockdown has been lifted, We are hoping the situation will improve,” he said.
Mohammed Shehzaad, an automotive electrician, said, “Our business is like that of a daily wage earner. We do not have any steady source of income. We need to work every day to earn our livelihood. I need to take care of my family which is completely dependent on me. Due to this pandemic, we faced tough times, but with the lifting of the lockdown, I am hopeful our workshop will get back to routine soon.”
Another old spare parts shop owner, Mahmood, said, “After over three months of lockdown, we have opened our shops and, I hope, business will pick up in coming days. We are strictly following the safety guidelines and taking all the safety measures. We do not allow customers to enter our shop and we all wear masks and maintain a safe distance from each other and our customers.”
(Text and Photo: Syed Fasiuddin)