Bahrain plans new Muharraq downtown area
Manama, June 7, 2012
Bahrain Municipal councillors have announced plans to create a "downtown" area in Muharraq to provide more localised services to residents.
Councillors yesterday submitted a blueprint for a central business and government district to rival Manama, which the Cabinet will now study in line with international standards.
The Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry has been tasked with coming up with a timeframe for the project that will be presented to the Cabinet.
Councillors say the proposal is long overdue as the area has a population of around 110,000 and residents should have comprehensive facilities on their doorstep.
"Everything is clustered in Manama, while Muharraq, the second biggest area, is still way behind in services and doesn't have what makes it stand as downtown Manama," said Muharraq Municipal Council chairman Abdulnasser Al Mahmeed.
"The downtown concept will give Muharraq the true image that it is really enriched with, considering that it is home to Bahrain International Airport, Bahrain's only shipping port (Prince Khalifa Port), Bahrain's biggest industrial zone (Prince Salman Industrial City) and the Gulf's largest renowned shipyard (Asry)."
Al Mahmeed said the best place to establish a new downtown would be in the old Muharraq Suq area that is historically and commercially rich.
"We have selected three constituencies to be our downtown - three, four and five (all covering the old Muharraq Suq), which has numerous historical buildings that include the Ruling Family's old homes that could be used, as in Manama, to house government services and international companies, which at the moment are only found in the capital," Al Mahmeed added.
Council financial, administrative and legislative committee chairman Ghazi Al Murbati, who came up with the proposal, said it would be easy for the government to get international recognition of a downtown area in Muharraq.
"There are international standards that the government will have to fulfil, but I don't think that there will be difficulties as all that is required is to improve the standards of services in line with requirements," he added.-TradeArabia News Service