Hi-tech market to replace Bahrain suq
Manama, February 28, 2011
A state-of-the-art market complex could be on the way in Muharraq, replacing an existing derelict suq.
The project is expected to cost up to BD1.45 million ($3.84 million) and would take around two years to complete.
Municipal councillors have approved a plan to tear down the rundown complex and rebuild it, but are now awaiting green light from the government.
They had considered renovating the original market, but voted to bulldoze it and rebuild it from scratch after being quoted BD1.2 million for a simple revamp.
Designs for the new market include a multipurpose shopping centre divided into three sections - one for meat and poultry, another for vegetables and fruits and a third for fish.
It will also include a section where Productive Families (low-income Bahraini families who produce handmade goods) can sell their wares, a Central Informatics Organisation (CIO) office and a recycling point for garbage bags.
However, a few questions remain - including what will happen to the current traders while work is carried out.
"The Muharraq Municipality has presented us with two options, either relocate them temporarily to other municipal land or build makeshift shops in the market's car park so merchants get moved back gradually," said Muharraq Municipal Council vice-chairman Ali Al Muqla.
"I don't really care what solution is taken by municipal officials.
"All I care about is that those merchants don't lose their source of income, because if they do I will hold whoever responsible accountable.
"There should be an additional budget for the temporary relocation problem, which I believe is solvable, if real planning is done from now."
Al Muqla, who is also the council's technical committee chairman, said other changes could also be made to the final plan.
"The CIO's office and the Productive Families section already exist in the current market, alongside Ramez department store, and we should have a study on the revenue they bring to the municipality before deciding if they should be allowed to continue," he said.
"I have no problem with them continuing there, but I am thinking about having a proper investment centre for businessmen to lease - which could generate more money for the municipality.
"The market plans also have to be revised to see if offices could be built on top of the market, rather than just have a one or two-floor structure - depending on where cars will be located."
Al Muqla added Municipalities and Urban Planning Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi had backed the project in principle, but there were still questions over funding.
"I don't think that the new complex will cost a lot and since it doesn't, the minister should have it included in either this year's or next year's budget - with the current market very much below standard," he said.
"Now is the best time to plan good projects for Muharraq and I believe having this project goes in that direction. "Hopefully there will be good news in the coming days."-TradeArabia News Service