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Boatmen of Qantab to be hit hard by beach closure  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Muscat Daily - 31/10/2012

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(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Boatmen and fishermen of Qantab village stand to lose their source of livelihood once the beach closes down for a hotel and residential project.It won't be long before the popular beach becomes off-limits to the general public. A large area will also become out of bounds for fishermen, forcing them to look for a catch further away.''We have been told that access to the beach for the general public will be stopped in some time,'' said Ameer Salim Khamis al Hadi, one of the 45 boatmen at Qantab who earn a living by ferrying people to nearby islands. Some have been doing this for the past 30 years.''They are old now and cannot take up new ways to make a living. The decision to close the beach will cost them dearly,'' he added.He mentioned that hiring a boat for excursions on a weekend can cost RO30-40. On weekdays, the prices come down to RO25. ''We allow a maximum of seven people onboard at a time,'' said Hadi.''During holidays, we have a large number of people - citizens, residents and foreign tourists - thronging to the beach. ''We even charge RO50 or more and people are willing to pay.''The boatmen say that carrying these activities from adjacent Qantab village would be an impossible task. ''It is a residential area with many Omani families living there; they would object.'' Hadi said they have been told that two hotels and several villas would come up near the beach.Confirming this, an official from Nagarjuna Construction Company International LLC (NCC), which is carrying out the development project said, ''Initial works have started in the area and we will be building two luxury hotels, besides more than a 100 villas.''He further said that the work includes constructing 19 roads from the main road to the sites These include small inside roads as well. ''The project, which is in its preliminary stages, is expected to be complete by 2014,'' he added.Surveying, land marking, ground levelling and other initial earthworks are currently being carried out. Mountain-blasting and other allied works will begin by the end of this year, according to officials at the site.''The hotel projects are still in the design stage and earthworks are expected to be completed by early 2014," sources at NCC said, adding, ''The details of the hotel project or the cluster of premium villas are yet to be announced and they are expecting to complete it within two or three years once the construction  begins.''


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