Work to start on Bahrain homes project
Manama, October 9, 2012
Work on the first homes in the BD1.7 billion ($4.52 billion) Northern Town is finally due to begin a decade after the project was launched in Bahrain.
Reclamation work has been completed and 500 houses have been earmarked for construction early next year.
Around 75,500 homes, a university, hospital, aquarium and aquatic physiotherapy centre were planned when HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander, laid the foundation stone for the project in October 2002.
However, it remains unclear if the project plans remain the same or have been substantially modified.
Northern Municipal Council chairman Ali Al Jabal welcomed the news that the Works Ministry had put out to tender the contract for the first 500 homes.
"We have full trust in Works Minister Bassem Al Hamer and are confident that work will go ahead as announced and hopefully other batches would follow," he said.
"A decade has passed and instead of celebrating its success, we are talking about an empty reclaimed town in the sea.”
"Nothing has been done in the town despite numerous promises that everything was going according to plan.”
"We just want people who were promised homes to settle down. It has been years and many of the beneficiaries may now have extended families, who are either living in their parents' homes or rented accommodation."
Al Hamer has reportedly been sent a list of guidelines by the council to ensure the project remains on track.
"New timeframes for work progress have been listed in clear tables - it shouldn't just include homes but also roads, sewage networks, electricity and water, health, education and transportation," said Al Jabal.
"The $10 billion GCC Marshall Financial Support should be mostly spent to solve the housing problem and the town is in need of huge amounts to get back on track.”
"We are here, pledging to help the minister with any information, but on condition that a clear and transparent mechanism for homes and lands distribution is announced."
Al Jabal said the ministry should not allocate land for investment without the council's approval.
"We are still not happy with the proposed sizes of homes and land that will be distributed to the public. We hope a rethink is done in this regard," he said.
Road networks to the town are expected to be constructed soon at a cost of BD69 million, but a choice between coastal and inland designs or a mixture of both is yet to be finalised.
"Since the town has robbed many fishermen off their livelihoods, it is time the government presented them with the financial support they deserve, and possibly others, when work on new routes and required facilities goes ahead," added Al Jabal. – TradeArabia News Service