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Car workshops in Jeddah’s Eskan Street to close down

Saudi Arabia, December 26, 2017

Workshop owners in Jeddah’s Eskan Street have been caught off guard when the municipality placed stickers for the closure of their facilities without giving any warning.

It was a haphazard move by the municipality and they have not yet closed any workshops on the ground, Abdullah Al-Harbi told Al-Madina Arabic daily.

“A municipality official put stickers on some workshops and photographed them,” he added.

“We have not received any written or verbal warning before this move,” said Al-Harbi. “The official put the stickers and left the place as if he does not want to answer queries of workshop owners,” he pointed out.

“When we saw the municipality official putting the stickers on some workshops we asked him the reason for the closure but he did not give any reply,” Al-Harbi told Al-Madina.

Most people already paid rents of the workshops for up to a year. But the official asked them to vacate their workshops and close them once and for all.

“The municipality has put us in an awkward situation and we don’t know what to say to our customers,” he said.

“We have removed the cars from the workshops before they are being towed away by the municipality’s contractors,” he explained.

Ahmed Al-Harbi said it was the first time the municipality had placed closure warnings on the premises without any prior notice.

“This is a strange way of doing things,” he added. “The municipality should have given us enough time to shift our workshops to a new locality.”

He said the workshop owners visited the new industrial city in Asfan, which is located about 100 km from the Eskan Street, in order to study the possibility of shifting the workshops there. “But we will not find customers there because of the long distance,” he added.

“Many of us do not know what to do. We have already paid rents for our workshops in Eskan Street. Now we have to rent another place and shift our tools and materials as well as the cars for repair to the new place, which is going to be expensive,” he said.

Mohammed Ridwan asked why the municipality renewed the licenses of workshop owners if they wanted to close them within the year. “We agree that workshops must be shifted away from residential areas but they must give us enough time to find an alternative location,” he added.

He said shifting workshops to Asfan would not be a good choice due to the long distance from the city, especially for people living in south Jeddah. “The municipality has to find a place close to Jeddah for the benefit of both workshop owners and the customers,” he added.

Ali Al-Qarni, spokesman for the municipality, emphasized the plan of local authorities to close workshops that are operating in areas not specified for them.

“We have noticed that some workshops have been operating in violation of the municipality’s regulations and they will be closed down without any leniency,” he told Al-Madina.

Al-Qarni said the stickers were pasted on workshops that have violated regulations on the orders of Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishal Bin Majed, who has set up a committee for this purpose.

The municipality has a plan to open an industrial zone for automobile workshops south of Jeddah and it has given a proposal to investors. “After awarding the contract, details of the project will be announced,” Al-Qarni said.