Land grabs pose threat to economy, says official.
Sameer Basabrain, head of Jeddah governorate's committee to monitor government land and prevent encroachments, also noted that many random neighborhoods sprang up as a result of these encroachments and eventually became havens of criminals and overstayers. The authorities have to spend billions to develop these regions, he said while speaking to Al-Eqtisadiah business daily. Basabrain disclosed that the concerned government agencies had reclaimed over 280 million square meters of public land worth more than SR14 billion in the Jeddah governorate alone. "Most of these reclaimed plots belonged to various government agencies and organizations. The committee has already handed over several plots located north of Asfan and Abu Jaala, south of Jeddah, as well as plots earmarked for housing projects. Another plot in south Jeddah that belonged to the Saudi Industrial Property Authority (MODON) was also handed over," he said. Basabrain said that projects would be implemented on reclaimed government land in Al-Asla valley. They include the eastern jungle project, a safari park and a national park. "A number of educational projects are also being implemented on reclaimed government land, and these encompass a branch of King Abdulaziz University in Asfan, a technical college for boys and girls, and health institutes for boys. In addition to these, there are water and sewage projects, including a water purification plant in Al-Khumra in south Jeddah. He also emphasized that the committee, in line with the directives of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, was strictly monitoring all types of encroachments on public land.
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