Bahrain towns revamp may be advanced
Manama, April 15, 2012
Preparations for a major scheme to improve towns and villages across Bahrain could be brought forward by eight months, said a top official.
The Manama Municipal Council has backed calls for the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry to start drawing up plans for the project months before its launch date in January.
The scheme, now being studied by the Cabinet, includes revamp of roads and sewage networks, construction of new infrastructure and the creation of community facilities in towns and villages across the country's five governorates.
It will be carried out by the ministry and replace an existing scheme, in which upgrading work was carried out area by area.
Instead, the new initiative will prioritise work based on the need of each area. Five towns and villages will have to be selected, one by each municipal council, every year.
"The scheme has been initially approved by the Cabinet and it is in the process of determining ministries' responsibilities," said council vice-chairman Mohammed Mansoor.
"The Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry should have met us in a brainstorming session to come up with suggestions on what projects could be carried out, possible cost and whether work could be implemented.
"Until today, ministry officials are telling us that they are unaware of the scheme, despite Works Minister Essam Khalaf announcing it last week in an official meeting with us.
"It seems that we will end up with typical government action, which will see the scheme start in December next year rather than January."
Mansoor said that if the ministry was not sanctioned to come up with proper plans, it could prepare different scenarios for implementation.
"We are here speaking about a major scheme anticipated by thousands of residents who are looking for a revamp to their towns and villages," he said.
Mansoor said councils had already shortlisted towns and villages and just needed the ministries concerned to start coming up with preliminary designs.
"Working eight months ahead of the schedule will ensure that all designs are ready and just in need of minor changes in line with the assigned budget by the Cabinet," he said.
"The ministries concerned could also have the new projects tendered in October to ensure that when January comes work will start rather than wait for contractors to come forward.”
"I don't see any reasons for not working ahead of schedule instead of the current bureaucratic manner in which things are being done and that's when officials receive orders and documents move around different offices,” Mansoor added. – TradeArabia News Service