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Stalled projects row in Bahrain's Northern Governorate

MANAMA, November 12, 2014

Only a quarter of the new homes, schools, heath centres and road networks put forward in Bahrain’s Northern Governorate in the last four years have been completed, it was revealed.

The Northern Municipal Council yesterday criticised government ministries for carrying out 72 of 280 projects, despite the allocation of budgets and drawing up of blueprints, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

It said the Social Development Ministry was the worst offender as it did not implement any of its 58 projects, while the Works Ministry was praised for its high implementation rate after completing 54 of 98 projects in the governorate.

The Housing Ministry completed seven of its 19 projects, the Justice and Islamic Affairs Ministry carried out five of 71 schemes, the Education Ministry built one school from 25 approved academic initiatives and the Health Ministry only completed one of six projects, while the General Organisation for Youth and Sports was working on one of three projects.

Outgoing council vice-chairman Sayed Ahmed Al Alawi revealed the figures, which were part of a report issued at the end of the councillors' four-year tenure, during a meeting held yesterday at the council's headquarters in Janabiya.

"The Housing Ministry had 19 projects and from it seven were completed, six are being implemented and six were cancelled," he said.

"Those cancelled included the Shahrakan housing project (200 homes), Shakhoora (256 homes and 14 plots), Janusan (92 homes and 16 plots), Karranah (139 homes), Abu Saiba (47 homes) and Abu Quwah (338 homes and 118 flats).

"The BD1.7 billion ($4.4 billion) Northern Town was announced in 2001 with plans to complete 15,000 homes by 2006 and now we are in 2014 and only 530 homes have been announced, while the rest of the project is being handled by the private sector," he added.

Al Alawi said the Works Ministry formed a joint committee with the council to ensure programmes concerning road networks and sewerage grids were addressed.

"We had 76 road projects and 49 were carried out, while we had 22 sewerage projects and five were implemented."

He said the council had presented the Health Ministry with proposals to build five health centres, which were accepted by ministry officials and added to plans to build a hospital in the governorate.

He also claimed that the Social Development Ministry did not even present plans for some of the approved proposals.

"We asked the ministry to build grounds for each charitable society, 10 social centres, four parent care homes, one for retirees and one for the disabled, which never received a response," he said.

Al Alawi said of the council's eight proposals to develop towns and villages in the governorate, the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry approved three but did not carry out any work since 2011.

"The ministry was tasked by the Cabinet to head the ministries and government organisations work teams, but it is yet to have a meeting or announce any projects," he added.

Meanwhile, the council yesterday submitted a request to the Cabinet to amend the 2001 Municipal Law to allow ministers to be questioned for failing to implement infrastructure projects.

"Ministers can be only grilled politically in parliament for failures, but that doesn't mean that councils have no right to question reasons behind projects not being carried out," said Mr Al Alawi.

"We have gone to the Royal Court and the Crown Prince's and Premier's courts to complain against ministers - some have complied and made promises, but implementation to them is still unnecessary since we have no power to take action." - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | project | northern | row | stall | Governorate |

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