New look revamp planned for blaze-hit market
Manama, October 2, 2012
A market destroyed by a massive blaze will be renovated along the lines of the new-look souq near Bab Al Bahrain, Manama, said a senior government official.
Hundreds of stalls went up in flames when fire ripped through the Isa Town traditional market in July.
However, a BD1 million ($2.61 million) revamp is underway and Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi said it would combine both modern and traditional elements.
"The new marketplace will be constructed to high standards to ensure that safety and security are provided," he told our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News on the sidelines of an event to mark World Habitat Day yesterday.
"Arrangements are underway with the Interior Ministry to provide fire extinguishers and firefighting equipment, while policemen will be present during trading hours when it reopens.
"HRH Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa's directives are to ensure that the market gets back to business in the fastest time and most efficient way possible and we have obliged the contractor to work at full capacity.
"The cost of the revamp will be BD998,000. This amount will be used not just to build the marketplace according to traditional designs, but also to add missing facilities like loading areas and offices for government and municipal officials."
He said there would also be a traditional coffee shop and other entertainment facilities.
"It will not just be a place where goods are sold, it will be a comprehensive traditional and modern shopping centre that encompasses every attraction possible - not just for locals, but tourists too," said the minister.
Hundreds of traders whose stalls and goods were destroyed in the fire have now been relocated to a temporary plot, which is due to be fitted with new shades by the end of the week.
However, the temporary location will only be open for business on Thursday afternoons and weekends.
"It is a weekend flea market and not a warehouse, so traders will have to remove their merchandise everyday to ensure that they do not contribute to another fire," said Dr Al Ka'abi.
He revealed the final instalment of a compensation payout would be distributed to traders whose businesses were damaged by the fire by the end of this week.
"The easier cases were passed fast and compensation was distributed in a ceremony at the Central Municipality less than two weeks ago.
"The most complex were being looked into for solutions that have been found and they will be the last to be compensated by the end of this week." – TradeArabia News Service