Rules row halts reclamation work in Bahrain
Manama, September 22, 2011
Reclamation work off two coastal areas in Bahrain been halted amid allegations that it has been carried out in breach a regulation which declares the areas as protected zones.
The order to stop work off the coast of Tubli Bay and Karbabad was issued during a Manama Municipal Council meeting yesterday (September 21).
Four licences have been issued by the Manama Municipality for reclamation work in Tubli since July, despite a Royal Decree declaring it a protected zone.
Councillors halted similar work in Karbabad after it was discovered to be in violation of Bahrain's Master Plan 2030, which classifies the country's development zones.
They also demanded the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry took action against VIPs allegedly responsible for the reclamation, claiming they had committed legal, technical and environmental violations.
Councillors were shown pictures of building refuse and garbage being used for reclamation during the meeting.
The presentation was prepared by council vice-chairman Mohammed Mansoor and council services and public utilities committee chairman Fadhel Al Qaidoom.
Mansoor, who is also Karbabad's councillor, claimed reclamation was going on under the radar without the involvement of municipality supervisors or inspectors.
"Reclamation work on Karbabad's coast is going fast and smooth in a quiet atmosphere under the radar without the VIPs responsible being stopped or questioned on what they were doing," he said.
"I have checked the nine permits and they are old and expired, despite the fact that work just started recently. Work is done using improper materials and at the same time doesn't follow the Master Plan 2030, which doesn't allow any reclamation there."
Al Qaidoom said investigations had found all of Tubli Bay was privately owned despite it being a protected zone.
"We noticed that reclamation work was done by a VIP in a clear violation of the law in the protected area using building refuse and garbage," he claimed.
"There are compensation packages for owners that the Cabinet was working on for those with land in the bay, but there are no deals for anyone to do any reclamation whatsoever."
Council public relations and information committee chairman and Tubli councillor Adnan Al Tammimi said Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi told him it was a continuation of existing work.
"The minister told me in a visit that those permits are old and that work has been going on there and that it was a continuation of reclamation that began earlier and was stopped, and has now been restarted," he said.
Council chairman Majeed Millad Al Jazeeri said that the Manama and Central Municipal Councils were trying to enforce legislation that stipulated nothing could be built within a 50-metre zone of Tubli Bay's coast.
"Having more reclamation is not serving the cause and shows that the law is not being respected." – TradeArabia News Service