(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Members of the Central Municipal Council (CMC) have complained that most unused land plots in the capital are fast becoming waste dumping sites, gathering places for stray animals and parking lots for heavy vehicles, which are all damaging the city's image.
Vacant plots are also a major concern of residents as heaps of waste emit a bad stench, making their lives miserable, they said.
Councillors demanded that the owners put such plots to use by developing them or authorities allocate them to those who can develop and use them.
According to Councillor Mubarak Farish, who represents Gharafa, the government had given these plots for free to nationals for their benefit.
Unfortunately, beneficiaries have failed to use their plots and instead abandoned them. As a result, these plots have become a haven for pests, waste and stray animals in the middle of residential areas.
"This is all despite the fact that there are many more nationals who are still waiting for land and staying in rented apartments, paying about QR8,000 a month.
"That is why we are demanding that whoever gets plots they must develop them," he said.
Councillor Mohammed Ali Al Azibaha, who represents Muaither, said there were about 100 free plots in his area which have not been developed by their owners yet and are becoming dumping sites and parking lots for heavy vehicles, something that is annoying residents.
"The government gave away plots in the 1980s but these have not been used for almost 30 years now. We want these plots to be taken away from their owners and given to those who can use them."
Al Azibaha said residents were tired of seeing unused plots private or public - in their neighbourhoods.
Mohammed Al Ateeq Al Dousari, Councillor from the Khalifa area, said the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning has put a law in place that makes it mandatory for the beneficiaries to use their free plots.
Why this law is not being enforced to ensure people develop their plots and not leave them to damage the country's image? he asked. He said authorities should put a time limit of two years for anyone who wants land to use it or it should be given to those waiting for many years.
Hamad Saleh Al Khoor, Councillor from Old Al Rayyan, said authorities should come up with a law that requires all those that get land to use it in two years or it should be given to others on the waiting list.
"There is land in my area that was allocated for building schools 40 years back and until now it has not been used," said Al Khoor.
"With all the developments taking place in the capital, it's sad to see such free land being left unused," he added.