The orange buildings are the completed first phase of the
project, and the grey ones are part of the second phase on
which work has been stalled
Work stalls on $75m Bahrain labour town project
Manama, April 13, 2014
Low occupancy rates have delayed work on a $75 million labour town built within the Bahrain Investment Wharf (BIW) in Hidd.
The project's first phase has been completed, but only around 50 per cent of the development is occupied, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Developers have stalled work on the second phase until demand for labour accommodations increases.
Circo Properties and Facilities Management, which operates the project, said occupancy levels have been affected by companies choosing cheaper labour camps.
"Phase one, completed in 2009, is made up of 12 buildings and can hold around 7,000 labourers - but at the moment it is between maybe 50 per cent and 60 per cent occupied," said company sales head Imad Al Masri.
"We have 30 sq m rooms that can hold a maximum of eight people which is plenty of room.
"The idea is not only to get them out of residential areas but to give these labourers their rights. These accommodations will be clean, the surrounding areas kept neat and it will be well maintained.
"The problem is that most companies will only want to spend between BD15 ($39) and BD20 per head which they can do by cramming them into houses, but with us the cost is between BD27 and BD30 per head and most companies choose the cheaper option.
"Phase one was almost 100 per cent occupied last year but following the completion of the Mina Salman project the numbers dropped to about 50 per cent.
"Phase two's main structures are complete and two buildings of the 13 have already been handed over but with the low occupancy this year work has stalled as there isn't the demand for it."
He said the second phase was due to be completed next year, but work will not continue until the company experiences an increase in demand for labour accommodation.
Muharraq Municipal Council chairman Abdulnasser Al Mahmeed has called on parliament to issue new regulations to force companies to house their labourers in non-residential areas.
"This is a problem that has existed for many years, many labourers will rent an old house which is cheap - sometimes more than 20 people living in one home," said Al Mahmeed.
"The Tameer (Bahrain Investment Wharf) project, started in 2007, was supposed to solve this issue but there are no rules or regulations or laws that force companies to house their labourers there, not in residential areas.
"It all has to do with money - a company will choose to pay less and put the labourers in a home rather than spend more and put them in the labour town and until there is a law that can force companies to use them nothing will change.
"We want parliament to take this seriously and draft a law that benefits everyone."
He added that Bahrain's five municipal councils have been receiving complaints for years from residents who worry about labourers living in their areas. - TradeArabia News Service