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Campers urged to check location physically before online reservation

Over 1,000 warning letters given to illegal camps

KUWAIT: This file photo shows tents set up at a camping site in Kuwait’s desert. — Photo by Joseph Shagra Fahad Al-Ibrahim

KUWAIT: Due to the heavy rains and floods, the camping season was postponed this year. Instead of licensing the camps from the beginning of November, registration for licenses only opened on Jan 1, 2019 by Kuwait Municipality. But many people did not wait to get the licenses and pitched their camps in the desert. Some of those tents were removed by municipal inspectors, while others still remain. This is because various factors were taken into consideration, such as the location of the camp or violations by the campers. According to the Municipality, over 1,000 warning letters were given to the illegal camps.

Until yesterday, 101 licenses had been issued, which include 98 for individuals and three for institutions. The registration is completely electronic on the Municipality’s website www.baladia.gov.kw, where the applicant can pay the deposit and fees. The applicant can choose the location depending on availability.

Fahd Shteel, assistant undersecretary and head of the camping committee, advised people to check the location before registering it on the website. “The website shows the areas where camping is permitted and the availability of each location. If a location is reserved by an applicant through the website, it shows it is occupied. But there may be illegal campers on that location, which won’t show in the system, as they are not licensed. So I advise applicants to avoid conflicts and check the location physically before making the reservation online. The best way is to register while at the location,” he told Kuwait Times.

According to him, the Municipality will always try to resolve any problem amicably. “We have not faced any such cases yet, but if they occur, we will try to solve it friendlily. If we are not able to do so, we will ask the squatting camper to issue a license and compensate the person who reserved it with an alternative location. This is one of the conditions for issuing the license – that the location is vacant,” explained Shteel.

The camping license is available for both citizens and expats and the conditions are listed on the official website of the Municipality.
Municipal inspectors have razed all illegal camps that were pitched outside the permitted space for camping set by the Municipality. “Regarding illegal camps inside the allowed area, we only removed violating camps that either had environmental violations such as building permanent utilities fixed with cement to the land or harming the environment through other violations,” said Awad Abulkhair from the coordination department at the Municipality. “In addition, we also removed other camps with immoral violations or other environmental violations. We did not remove family camps that have not committed any violation, but we reminded them to issue a license for their existing camp.”
He also highlighted the centers serving campers in all the camping areas. “We have three complete security centers in three locations – Salmy, Kabd and the entrance of Rahal in the south of Kuwait. These centers are equipped with ambulances, firefighting vehicles and police patrols,” he added.

By Nawara Fattahova

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