DOHA: The State Cabinet cleared the decks yesterday to carve out a new municipality, that of Al Shahaniyah, which is presently part of Al Rayyan Municipality and known in the entire region for camel races.
Al Rayyan is the largest of the seven municipalities in the country in terms of area.
However, once set up, Al Shahaniyah will be the eighth and the largest municipality, as it would cover 34 percent of Qatar’s total geographical area, pushing Al Rayyan a notch behind with a share of 33 percent.
Although Al Shahaniyah was part of Al Rayyan Municipality, a municipal office was established here in April 2005 to provide some basic municipal services such as building and commercial licenses.
Residents, though, had to visit the far-off Al Rayyan Municipality for other works.
The head of Al Shahaniyah municipal office, Mohamed Bati Al Sahouti, while welcoming the Cabinet’s decision to carve out a full-fledged municipality for the town, said the move would create many job opportunities.
It is understood that Al Shahaniyah Municipality, once carved out, would include Raudat Rashid, Al Karana, Al Khurais, Jameeliya, and Umm Baab, among other towns and villages.
The seven municipalities currently are Doha, which is the smallest in terms of area but largest in terms of population, Al Rayyan, Al Shamal, Al Dayeen, Al Wakrah, Umm Salal, and Al Khor.
The last reorganiation of municipalities was done in the country a decade ago, in 2004, when Al Dayeen was carved out of Umm Salal and Al Khor, and some municipalities were merged with the others.
A citizen living in Al Shahaniyah, Manahi Saud Al Shummari, said it was high time his town was declared a full-fledged municipality due to rapidly growing population and its needs. “We have been waiting rather impatiently for this day.”
“The small municipal office here didn’t have an engineering section. But now that we will have a full-fledged municipality, we will have those services as well,” said Shahir Saud Al Shummari, an engineer by training.
“We wouldn’t have to run to Al Rayyan Municipality any more for these services.”
At its weekly meeting yesterday, the Cabinet approved its draft resolution to declare Al Shahaniyah a full-fledged municipality.
The Cabinet also approved a draft decision it had made earlier to demarcate the geographical borders of the proposed municipality (Al Shahaniyah).
Al Sahouti said that once the new municipality is set up, there would less burden on Al Rayyan Municipality, as currently there is too much of work pressure on it.