Bahrain to develop 200 empty plots
Manama, April 16, 2012
Plans to utilise around 200 empty plots in the heart of Bahrain for infrastructure and community projects will be rolled out in the next five years, said a top official.
Councillors claim the private plots, mostly in Seef District, Sanabis, Burhama and Juffair, were not fenced off and have been deserted by their owners for the last 20 years.
The Manama Municipal Council plans to negotiate with the owners to sell the unused plots to the government to carry out the development work.
"Those plots in their current deserted status look ugly and don't reflect the real developed and urbanised side of Bahrain," said council vice-chairman Mohammed Mansoor.
"There are different reasons behind their owners leaving them unattended for the last 20 years, which include owners refusing to give parts of their plots for municipal and infrastructure projects in return for a building permit and others who don't want to have an investment in troubled areas like Sanabis and Karbabad.
"A number of owners are waiting for a good price from the government to sell while the government is not offering them deals according to market rates and now with the financial crisis some owners don't have the required finances."
Mansoor, who is also the Manama Municipality's investment committee vice-chairman, said the five-year plan is being spearheaded in partnership with the ministries concerned and government bodies.
"During these five years we will compile lists of private plots and meet their owners to see if they wanted to utilise them in the coming 18 years, which will be in line with Economic Vision 2030," he said.
"If they don't present the council with plans within the five years of survey, then their plots will be listed for government purchase until 2030 to help speed up needed infrastructure and municipal projects."
However, restriction on government budget could pose a challenge for councillors when acquiring the private plots, said Mansoor, who is also the council's financial, administrative and legislative committee chairman.
"We acknowledge that acquiring those plots would cost huge amounts, maybe around BD1 billion," he explained.
"The council is not asking that they be purchased at once and the government can always divide them according to annually allocated budgets until 2030.
"Finances shouldn't necessarily come from the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry as each ministry and government organisation can spend from its budget according to its need." – TradeArabia News Service