Bahrain plans major revamp of scrapyards
Manama, February 4, 2013
Land near Bahrain's east coast which has a sprawling web of almost 100 scrapyards could be handed over to developers and turned into a multi-million dinar investment project, a report said.
Plans are underway to relocate the scrapyards from their current location near Askar to pave the way for major development, according to the report published in our sister newspaper the Gulf Daily News (GDN).
Authorities have branded the area a health, environment and security risk and have struck a deal with the yard owners to relocate them to a new site at a quarry in Hafeera.
The relocation decision was taken after arsonists started a fire that ripped through several yards at the existing site in August, 2010 - leading to 10-year prison sentences for the men who were found guilty of starting the blaze in connection with a terror campaign.
The location was first earmarked for scrapyards 25 years ago because of its remoteness, but urban growth and projects such as the Riffa Views housing estate have prompted authorities into action.
Southern Municipality director-general Asem Abdullatif revealed contracts had already been signed for 75 scrapyards at the new location.
"The new location will include proper roads, facilities and services besides a police checkpoint to monitor what goes in and out," he added.
"The current scrapyard area is being closely monitored at the moment with precautionary measures to ensure there is no fire and that whenever it happens, it stays contained."
He said the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry would give scrapyards the green light to move once the new site is ready.
"We have already signed agreements with scrapyard owners for 75 places at the new site at a monthly rate of BD250 ($646.8)," he told the GDN.
"Each will get an area of 5,000 sq m. There is enough space for everyone including others who will be relocated from other areas of the country.
"The current location is dangerous in every aspect - environmental, health and security - and for that, immediate relocation has become a necessity.
"It took time planning the new site after the arson attack a few years ago, but now we are ready and the move will take place within the upcoming months," Abdullatif said.
Meanwhile, the current site at Askar is in line for major development, although no final decision has been taken on what would replace the scrapyards, he added.
The Southern Municipal Council has already approved the move, after forcing the government to halve rent at the new location from BD500 a month.
Its chairman Mohsin Al Bakri wants the current location to be used to build government homes.
"We want scrap dealers to move out by the end of this year and we hope the land is given to the Housing Ministry to carry out a government housing project," he said.
"The municipality has its own opinion on how to use the land, but we want it to be used for other purposes. That's the Cabinet's decision." – TradeArabia News Service
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