Work on $2.65bn town to begin in Bahrain
Manama, April 21, 2010
Work on the first homes in the BD1 billion ($2.65 billion) Northern Town is expected to begin in October, Bahrain Housing Minister Shaikh Ibrahim bin Khalifa Al Khalifa told MPs.
Bids for the first phase of the project involving 1,500 houses, which will be completed in 2012, will open on July 5, he said.
It was also revealed that 15,000 Northern Governorate residents on the ministry's housing waiting list would be given homes in the town within 10 years.
Shaikh Ibrahim was present to comment on a parliamentary probe report on the town, after MPs earlier claimed that plots of land had already been distributed to several individuals. The first 1,500, 400-square metre houses will be built on two islands (numbers 13 and 14) out of a total 10 and completed in 2012, said Shaikh Ibrahim.
He said only 7.4sqkm of the total 27sqkm project area was ready for development.
'MPs are concerned that the number of islands in the town has shrunk, but that's not the case,' said Shaikh Ibrahim.
'We are yet to begin reclamation work on islands one and two and islands four and five have been scrapped, but there was no renumbering on maps.'
MPs voted on a number of recommendations they want the government to fulfil in the town, ensuring that work goes ahead smoothly without delay or deviation from the purpose the town was created for.
They demanded that the government set aside a budget for infrastructure work in the town, which includes bridges, electricity and water, roads, sewage amongst other facilities.
Parliament also asked that 10 per cent of the town gets allocated for private investments, with the government immediately starting distributing plots of land for people on the ministry's waiting lists.
MPs also gave the government a three-month deadline to complete a detailed plan for the town, which should involve houses not apartments, and present it to the Northern Municipal Council for study.
They also urged the government to withdraw surrounding sea land mysteriously given to private owners, saying landowners were planning to build private developments, which would destroy residents' sea views.-TradeArabia News Service