Few countries in the world have such a diverse mix of expatriate workers within small geographical boundaries as seen in Qatar and other Gulf countries.
The presence of large groups of single workers in residential areas has been a matter of concern in Qatar, which eventually led to a ban on labour accommodations in such places. More workers are now being moved to camps in the Industrial Area and on the outskirts of the city, which has led to a shortage in labour accommodations.
These crowded camps have witnessed several incidents of crime and scuffles between people from different nationalities. Only last week, an Indian died in a labour camp in Al Sailiya, reportedly stabbed by a Nepalese worker, in a suspected incident of group rivalry.
Illegal activities such as gambling and hooch-making have often been reported from labour camps across the country.
Lack of entertainment facilities for single workers seems to be worsening the
Authorities had unveiled plans to build exclusive residential complexes and entertainment facilities for single workers, but such projects are yet to see the light of day.
There used to be a cinema in the Industrial Area, which was closed down long ago. The twin theatres in Gulf cinema, the only affordable venue for low-income expatriates, have remained closed for more than seven months now.
Souqs and shopping malls remain the only places for single workers to hang out, but their entry to such places is restricted during weekends.
Eid and summer festivals organised by Qatar Tourism Authority also seem to ignore this segment of society, with very few programmes and activities for them.
Most festival venues are reserved for families and shows are not accessible to or affordable for low-income workers.
Authorities are aware of the seriousness of the issue, but there is need for a more in-depth study into its social and psychological aspects that should lead to practical solutions.