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The old Muharraq Central Market ... set for a facelift

Market traders in Bahrain refuse to shift to new location

MANAMA, February 9, 2015

Traders who were supposed to move out of the Muharraq Central Market in Bahrain last June are refusing to leave, it has emerged.

Twenty-five businesses, including a branch of Ramez, are apparently digging their heels in because they are unhappy with the proposed new location, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

They are supposed to leave temporarily so that work can start on upgrading the existing market, with plans for a shopping complex, hypermarket and separate sections for meat, fish, fruits and vegetables, as well as other kiosks.

It will also include a special area for people who manufacture traditional crafts, besides government offices, banks, restaurants, cafes, a basement car park with 200 spaces and special loading areas.

The project is being handled by the Muharraq Central Market Company, a subsidiary of Tashgeel for Commercial Buildings Management, and is scheduled for completion within two years.

However, the BD6 million ($15.7 million) facelift has now been delayed for more than five years and council chairman Mohammed Al Sinan said traders refusing to leave had a right to object.

"They shouldn't have to go there (to the new location), they are old traders from the suq and everything about their lives is centred there," council chairman Mohammed Al Sinan told the GDN.

"You can't take them somewhere far away.

"It is more valuable for the traders to have a position in the suq than be out of it.

"Those who were taken to the temporary suq in Hassan Bin Thabet Public Park (in June) accepted, but these remaining traders were going to be taken somewhere else.

"They won't move until they're provided with an equivalent location.

"I've put forward a suggestion to the Prime Minister about building a temporary location opposite the current market, but we are yet to get a reply.

"If it's accepted, we'll be able to build the temporary location in two or three months and work can begin on the new Muharraq Central Market."

The Muharraq Municipal Council also heard yesterday (February 8) that several traders had not paid fees since June 2013.

Councillor Yousif Al Thawadi said some traders were not being given trash bags in an attempt to force them to pay up - leading to fears that the area could be "eaten alive by fleas".

"I wouldn't say that the fleas are the ones who are eating the town," responded councillor Ghazy Al Murbati.

Punishment

"I say that it's the municipality that has eaten Muharraq by putting this rule forward.

"It's not possible for us to stop allowing people to have trash bags, it's too important.

"We can punish them in other ways perhaps, but not this."

However, Al Thawadi said that only 35 per cent of traders are still eligible to pick up trash bags, but not all do.

"Even the 35 per cent don't come to pick them up all the time," he said.

"If they fail to, for more than six or seven months, they're not allowed to get them anymore."

Muharraq municipality director-general Saleh Al Fadhala said that the council was responsible for imposing punishments, but several options were available.

"Part of the punishments we have is stopping them from applying for a Commercial Registration, among other things, of which one is trash bags," he said.

"You can certainly vote to stop them from getting trash bags, that is up to you." - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | market | new | shift | traders | muharraq | location |

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