Bahrain builds $106m township for bachelors
Manama, May 8, 2010
More than 2,500 bachelor expatriates in Bahrain will soon move into a BD40 million ($106 million) township in Hidd after years of demands to get them out of residential areas.
Developers plan to accommodate up to 7,000 labourers from various parts of the country.
Bahrain's five municipal councils have maintained for years that poorer workers often club together to rent properties in residential areas, many of which are dilapidated and not equipped to house people in large numbers.
They have been demanding a law that would lead to the eviction of all labour camps from residential areas.
This was sparked by complaints from Bahraini families across the country, who say foreign workers living next to their homes have made their lives miserable.
Residents have accused the expatriate bachelors of being drunk, noisy, harassing women and even walking half-naked through the streets.
They say that trucks driven by expatriates are also causing traffic problems in narrow residential roads.
The first batch of labourers will settle in the newly established 13 buildings over the next two months.
The buildings will accommodate more than 3,000 labourers, where each can take 300 labourers.
The project is being carried out by the Bahrain Investment Warf (BIW) Labour Accommodation Company.
Company board member Murad Al Ramadan said that it will feature 78 buildings that will be between three and five storeys.
He said that 2,500 labourers will be settling in the completed first phase of the project work at the Mina Salman Industrial Area.
The second phase will feature 12 buildings that will accommodate 3,168 labours.
It will be completed before the end of this year, said Al Ramadan, who is also Al Khaleej Development Company (Tameer) deputy chief executive officer and head of investments.
'So by the end of this year, we will be accommodating around 7,000 labourers, which will limit the random settling of labourers in residential areas,' he said.
Each room will accommodate between two and six labourers, depending on the design and their positions in the work place.
The township will include services for labourers to meet their daily needs such as medical centre, markets, restaurants and recreational centre among others.
Al Ramadan said companies that are not operating in industrial areas could still get accommodation for their labourers.
'The priority obviously is for the labourers working in Salman Industrial Area,' he said.
'But other companies are welcome as this township's purpose is to serve labourers of all positions.'
Officials say that the camp layout and the number of people sharing the rooms follows Labour Ministry regulations, which is an average of six sharing a 25 sq m to 30 sq m room.
The Muharraq Municipal Council had said earlier that the project would help officials push for new laws to improve expatriates' living conditions.
It said the only thing municipal councils can do was fine them for not following building rules or using the camp without a permit.
If an alternative is found, the council said it could push parliament and the government to implement a law to force landlords to stop renting out to labourers, he added.
The five municipal councils had announced that they were working on a draft law on evicting labour camps from residential areas.
It allows landlords to rent homes only to expatriate families and professionals.
Labourers and bachelors living in residential areas would have six months from the day the law takes effect to move out or be evicted. – TradeArabia News Service