DOHA: People are dismayed by the swelling number of abandoned vehicles on the streets, despite efforts by authorities to remove them.
A lot of people, especially in the old neighbourhoods, are unhappy to see cars abandoned for many years in front of their homes, the local Arabic daily Al Watan has reported.
Despite the continuous campaign to remove abandoned vehicles from different parts of the country by the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning, municipalities and the Ministry of Interior, the number of abandoned vehicles on the streets, in parking areas and other public places has been increasing, people said.
Some people attribute the phenomenon to the steady increase in the country’s population which has significantly affected different aspects of services and the traffic system which is facing a big challenge.
Qatar is a small country with a huge number of vehicles, not to mention those coming from neighbouring countries, some people said.
One of the main reasons why a vehicle is abandoned by its owner is accumulated traffic violations which the owner cannot pay.
Another is inability to pay the monthly installments, especially when the owner leaves the country.
In an earlier interview, Brig Mohammad Saad Al Kharji, the Director of the Traffic Department, said five years ago 18,000 vehicles were registered every year.
But today the department registers about 100,000 vehicles every year, raising the number of vehicles in the country to more than one million.
With the rising number of abandoned vehicles, the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning has launched an online service for people to file complaints against abandoned cars in their areas.
This way the ministry has managed to remove many abandoned vehicles.
Majority of these abandoned vehicles have old numbers written in Arabic.
It may be noted that the Traffic Department in November 2011 started to change car plates according to international standards.
The Ministerial Decision No. 98 issued in February 2013 formed a committee responsible for removing abandoned vehicles, in collaboration with Lekhwiya and municipalities.
The committee started the campaign in the Industrial Area and managed to remove more than 10,000 abandoned vehicles.
Prior to removing them, the committee issued a warning that if a car was not removed in specified period the owner will be fined QR500 for small cars and QR800 for heavy vehicles.
Abandoned cars have also been removed in other municipalities including 1,000 cars in Al Rayyan Municipality, 25 in Al Wakrah besides 40 abandoned machineries, 196 in Al Khor and 50 in Al Shamal. Last Ramadan, the municipality of Umm Salal announced the committee would remove abandoned cars in the area.
People should be kept aware that abandoned cars in front of their homes could be risky and should therefore inform the ministry and cooperate with the committee and Lekhwiya. Sometimes people throw garbage in these cars which affect public hygiene.