WINDOW — By Salem Al Jawhary — Here is the curious tale of citizen Ahmed bin Salih al Ajmi. It just didn’t occur to him that his house would be submerged in water on a summer day. What makes his tale all the more strange is that his house was built in an official land distributed more than 15 years ago. Upon obtaining the land, the citizen already knew of the existence of a water pipe beneath it. However, when he carried his worries to the officials concerned at the Land Department of the then Sohar Development Office and informed them that a water pipe of a defunct water plant was laying underneath, they reassured him confirming that the pipe was totally cancelled and therefore posed no threat whatsoever. Being a single story house with three bedrooms and a divan, it didn’t need deep foundation; hence they happened to know about the menace of the pipe only when it was too late.
The water pipe stayed lifeless all these years until a worker who was connecting water to a neighbouring house opened the valve of the wrong pipe, the same one that years ago aroused the fears of the unlucky citizen. The water poured from the pipe forcing the whole family out of the house.
This is part of the suffering that afflicted Al Ajmi a couple of days ago. It is was unintentional mistake that could take place anywhere in the world and all of us are likely to experience a similar occurrence.
However, the unacceptable thing was the slow response of the authorities concerned. How on Earth does an establishment in a civilised community in the 21st century take three hours to respond to such a small-scale eventuality? The house owner called the water authorities but no-one answered the phone, he repeated the attempts 10 more times in vain. Losing all hope of having his calls answered, the man sent his brother to the authorities to talk to the officials there in the hope that one of them would take the problem seriously; still no-one cared for the problem. It seemed that they were not concerned with what was happening. Disappointed, the man went to the governor seeking a solution.
The house owner lost the furniture and clothes and is now living without water or electricity, besides the house may fall apart at any time. If it happens the man along with his family of 10 members will have to live in the open as he is unable to afford a house rent being a simple driver at the primary court.
The response of the government entities is an indication of how effectively they perform their duty at time of disaster, yet the entity in question failed to handle a little incident which wouldn’t have reached that disastrous scale had there been an official who knew what needs to be done, and it wouldn’t have taken them three hours to handle a simple 3-minute task.
Most importantly, this unfortunate citizen should be provided with a suitable house to protect him and his family from similar eventualities in the future.