By Hazim Al-Motairy
RIYADH – The Wizarat District along the Old Airport Road in the Saudi capital city, where headquarters of most ministries are located, has become the playing ground for illegal expatriate workers, especially street vendors who sell foodstuffs in violation of the rules.
The district also suffers from environmental pollution as a result of the accumulation of garbage, which serves as a breeding ground for disease-spreading insects, such as mosquitoes and mice. Residents have urged authorities to take quick measures to restore the district’s prestige.
Hamad Abdullah emphasized the need to stop illegal business activities of undocumented expatriates who occupy the streets of the neighborhood, especially in the evening.
He said the illegal street vendors sell fruit and vegetables and unhealthy food items due to the absence of monitoring by the authorities.
Salim Al-Ahmed complained about the poor cleaning of the district. The accumulation of garbage has turned the neighborhood into a safe haven for stray dogs and cats. It also spreads bad smell across the district, he added.
He called for improving the environmental condition of Wizarat by removing garbage on a timely basis. The Passport Department should take action against illegal workers, he added.
Khaled Al-Faraj said relevant authorities should restore the previous condition of Wizarat considering its importance as the seat of many government departments.
“Now the district looks like part of an Asian city,” he told Okaz/Saudi Gazette. The district also required public parks for families to spend their weekends, he added.
Al-Faraj called for the development of Wizarat like other districts of Riyadh. “We should preven thet illegal activities of expats in the district by strictly enforcing the law.” He urged the water department to take quick steps to end water shortage in the district during summer.
Wizarat has lost its prestige in recent years, especially due to the presence of illegal foreign workers who engage in unauthorized activities that have tarnished its image.
“I think the patrol police should intensify its presence in Wizarat day and night while the municipality and the Commerce Ministry should keep a close watch on the shops and restaurants in the area,” Al-Faraj added.