Bahrain unveils massive development plans
Manama, April 16, 2008
Bahrain has unveiled its master plan for the 21st century, designed to turn it into an "economic powerhouse", with massive infrastructure development and special zones for industrial, commercial, tourism and residential projects.
The newly-completed National Plan includes developing ultra-modern transport systems and highway networks, linking self-contained regions with their own health, education, commercial and leisure services.
It maps out nationwide development up to 2030 and beyond, under plans spearheaded by Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander and Economic Development Board chairman Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
Nationwide zoning will be completed within a month, Municipalities and Agriculture Ministry assistant under-secretary for urban planning Shaikh Hamed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa revealed yesterday.
The zoning will define reclamation lines and identify specific areas for commercial, residential, industrial and tourism development, he told the Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper.
"The National Plan is the most comprehensive study ever undertaken to assess the planning requirements of 21st century Bahrain," said Shaikh Hamed.
"It is a comprehensive national land use programme that will transform Bahrain into one of the world's most highly regarded island nations."
He said the plan would be reviewed every five years to meet social and economic changes.
"The National Plan will help Bahrain become an economic powerhouse, a nation where a top-rank business environment is enabled by an indigenous workforce with sophisticated business and technical skills," said Shaikh Hamed.
The plan responds to Bahrain's specific needs and special requirements, he said.
"It is designed as the practical lens through which planning over the next century can be viewed and more importantly, implemented," said Shaikh Hamed.
He said the plan reflected the Crown Prince's economic vision,with clear goals for the nation.
Under the plan, each region of Bahrain will be self-contained with its own shopping malls, education and health facilities, parks and a network of roads of world-class standard, said Shaikh Hamed.
"While maintaining and developing Manama as the key financial district of Bahrain, Isa Town will be developed as the education hub of the country," he revealed.
"Parking and other facilities will be developed in Adliya, where there is a high concentration of first class restaurants.
"The Sitra Industrial Area and surrounding places will be developed into a technology city."
Shaikh Hamed said a south-west tourism district would be developed near Al Jazair beach, to enhance the quality of family tourism.
"Major parks will be developed in Arad Bay and near the National Stadium," he added.
"Tourism areas will also be developed around the Bahrain Field (from Awali to Sakhir). A government committee has undertaken a study on developing the Hawar Tourism District. More public beaches will be developed around Bahrain.
"Busaiteen, in Muharraq, which houses the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) Medical University of Bahrain will be further developed as a centre for medical research facilities."
Special zones will be earmarked for labour camps.
Reclamation will be avoided in sensitive areas and all development projects will comply with international environmental standards, said Shaikh Hamed.
"The plan proposes an expanded network of roads that improves access to currently developing projects, and future north waterfront communities," he noted.
"Bahrain's national highway and public transport networks are critical to the mobility of the Kingdom, to the efficiency of commerce, and to the availability of goods and services.
"The plan will shape growth to prevent traffic congestion caused by increased traffic volumes and strengthen link