Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation's (Kahramaa) decision to impose a fee on the public taps put up by Qataris in front of their houses, has invited sharp reactions from various quarters. Prominent citizens termed Kahramaa's decision as ‘inhuman’ and the fee as ‘exorbitant’.
Being nationals, Qataris are eligible for free domestic consumption of power and water. And several nationals have put up public taps in front of their houses to quench the thirst of hapless expatriate labourers and pedestrians during summer.
Now Kahramaa's decision to impose monthly fee of QR800 on these public taps, have invited the flak from the citizens. These taps are a real relief for the laborers toiling under scorching sun for hours during peak summer.
Criticizing Kahramaa's decision Shahir Al Shemari, the newly elected CMC member from Constituency Number 24 said:" It seems Kaharamaa has taken the decision without considering all sides of the issue. They should have sought the opinion of the property owners before unilaterally imposing the fee", Al Shemari said.
Al Shemari, who is an engineer by profession, added:" Instead of imposing a user-fee on the public taps, Kahramaa should have introduced a nominal license fee on selected taps. And a fixed number of taps should have been allowed to provide free water to the poor people at selected locations".
"Qataris are known for their generosity and care for the poor. Kahramaa's decision will bring damage to Qatar's pro-poor image", said Jassem Al Malki, Head of Service Committee, CMC.
Poor laborers and pedestrians are depending on these resources. The quantity consumed from public taps is very low. Compared to the quantity of water consumed from the taps, the fee imposed by Kahramaa is very high, he added.
Jarah Al Askar, another national, termed Kahramaa's decision `surprising' and `unfair'. Al Askar is of the view that Kahramaa should have elicited the views of concerned house owners, before deciding to impose such a high user-fee on the facilities offered by them to public.
However a section of Qataris are hopeful of Kahramaa withdrawing its ‘un popular’ decision.
"I don't think Kahramaa will implement this decision. Since the water drawn from these taps is very limited, there is no logic behind imposing such a huge fee on the public taps" said Ali Al Majid.
An estimated 200 Qatari families have put up public taps in and around Doha. Kahramaa feels that there is massive misuse of water provided through these taps.
The fact that many of the water coolers are not properly maintained and the subsequent health hazard posed to the consumers is another worry for Kahramaaa, it is learned.
Source: The Peninsula