OUTLOOK — By Yahya al Naabi — Last week Oman daily published an excellent report which met all criteria of journalistic profession related to report writing, it was about the sand dunes in the Wilayat of Bausher and how they are thinning due to the human interference. The report was conducted by colleague Abdullah al Khaifi and it was met with praise from the majority of the citizens who are proud of this nation and keen on its interest.
The disappearance of Bausher sand dunes is by all standards a crime against Mother Nature. Everyone was wondering where the sand dunes disappeared, and who is responsible for this act? Who are behind this and how on earth do they dare to siphon off such large quantities of sand constituting a scenic landscape between the coast and the mountain. How did they allow such a manipulation while the law is strictly applied on anyone who wants to cultivate a date palm sapling in front of his house to beautify the area or ease the scorching summer heat?
Sadly, removing the sand was in place for long years during which no authority dared to interfere and stop what was going on. Ironically, these companies used to sell the a truckload of sand to the citizens at extremely exuberant prices.
With reference to the statement issued by the Secretariat-General of the Council of Ministers last month, there is an item earmarked for protecting the government properties. The Council of Ministers has set up a committee chaired by the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, and the membership of relevant entities. I was taken aback at the Committee’s statement which hinted that the illegal appropriation is confined only to governorates other than the Muscat Governorate. Needless to say the majority of this illegal appropriation happened in Muscat Governorate. Who gave them the right to seize the public properties and sell it for their own benefit?
Muscat the capital city, is rapidly growing in terms of population because it houses all government institutions and the largest portion of private establishments. The prices of land and properties are spiralling and so are the rents, at a time when some landlords own vast lands. Could the respected Council of Ministers kindly reconsider the issue of land acquisition?
The report spoke about two lands that were acquired; one of them is 108,000 square kilometres and the other is 65,000 square kilometres while the poor citizen has to wait long years and in the end his is granted a 600 sq m land in a distant area without services.
We are always proud of our efforts to preserve the environment but what is happing in Bausher tarnishes our reputation as an environmentally-friendly nation for the sake of individual interests. Inroads into the sand dunes will have a damaging environmental effect, in addition to its negative impact on tourism.
We hope to see the Council of Ministers take a step to tackle this issue, especially now that the nation is witnessing a transitional stage which is characterised by caring for the common interests.