Homes wait to end for Bahraini families
Manama, November 28, 2013
By Mohammed Al A'Ali
Thousands of Bahraini families living in the capital could finally receive government homes after waiting for more than 30 years.
A total of 7,195 families of 52,000 currently on the Housing Ministry's waiting list would be moved to new projects being built in other areas, said senior ministry officials yesterday, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
It follows threats by Manama Municipal Council members to quiz senior officials every week until a long-term solution is drawn up.
They earlier said the Capital Governorate has only had three housing projects in Burhama, Zinj and Nabih Saleh over the last two decades, which have provided units for only 500 families.
"We have to be clear that plots available at reasonable prices in the governorate are scarce," said ministry assistant under-secretary for housing projects Samy Buhazaa at the council's meeting yesterday.
"It means that we would be paying three folds to buy land while it would be the same cost if we built a complete project elsewhere.
"We are concerned about the governorate's problem and we pledge that residents will be given priority in getting homes that we will build in Hidd, Sitra, Northern Town and Southern Town, but based on their application date.
"That's the only solution we have to get the residents of the governorate homes as there are no empty plots registered under the ministry that could be used for housing purposes."
Buhazaa said some residents of Old Manama and Hoora have agreed to live in apartments.
"We are currently working on plans to fulfil their demands for a housing unit through purchasing dilapidated homes to knock down," he explained.
He also condemned critics who claimed the ministry did not have a long-term plan to tackle the growing problem.
"We have a five-year plan and are working 24 hours, without weekends, to push ahead with new homes despite a budget shortfall," he said.
"We have been accused by councillors that we work randomly after cancelling the Mahooz Housing Project, but the truth is that the selected plot was registered as a football pitch after a request from the council a few years back.
"A huge burden has been inherited through the years and since moving to the ministry two years ago, I have tried to get things moving in a different way - better, faster and more efficient."
Council chairman Majeed Milad Al Jazeeri blamed the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry for not co-ordinating with the Housing Ministry to purchase plots in Manama.
"Thirteen plots could have been bought cheaper than they are now for housing projects, but our demands seemed to have fallen on deaf ears at the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry," he said at the meeting.
Meanwhile, Bahraini Kefah Awachi, who is a member of the Manama Families Demanding Homes Committee, told the council yesterday that he has been waiting for a government home since 1993.
"I had plans to have four children, but ended up with two and both are living in one room in my rented apartment in Old Manama despite my elder daughter studying at university and my other daughter in intermediate school," he said.
"Even when we, Old Manama residents, were told we would get homes in the upcoming Nabih Saleh Housing Project, we were threatened by residents of Nabih Saleh." - TradeArabia News Service