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Population growth hits Arad services.

Bahrain: Population growth in a Muharraq town is happening so fast that the area simply cannot support its own residents, it has been claimed.

An estimated 30,000 people live in Arad, but it still does not have a secondary school for boys or girls and some neighbourhoods don't have any basic services, complained area councillor Sabah Al Dossary.

The Muharraq Municipal Council is now demanding work on a new secondary girls' school to be fast-tracked, as well as an overhaul in zoning classification policies to allow new businesses to be established in residential neighbourhoods.

"The population in Arad is growing rapidly," Ms Al Dossary told the GDN.

"However, the area lacks essential facilities. In fact, some areas don't have any facilities at all.

"Block 246, for example, doesn't have a single commercial outlet.

"Block 244 doesn't have a traditional bakery, which is essential for many Bahraini families.

"It is not just Arad that suffers from this problem. All parts of Muharraq lack basic facilities too."

While Arad is home to Muharraq's biggest mall, Seef Mall Muharraq, she said it lacked basic services such as restaurants, dry cleaners and cold stores.

As such the council has submitted a proposal to the Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry to change the classification of vacant plots of land in Arad from residential to commercial.

Meanwhile, it is demanding answers from the Education Ministry over alleged delays in opening a girls' secondary school there.

His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa gave directives to open such a school there in 2014, said Ms Al Dossary.

She said both male and female pupils from Arad were still commuting to other schools in Muharraq.

"Girls are mostly distributed to Al Hidd Secondary Girls' School or Al Istiqlal Secondary Girls' School," she added.

"Girls from Arad make up a large number of the total students in those two schools, which is an indication of the importance of allocating a school in the area.

"Parents have been complaining about that over the years because they want their girls to go to a school near their home."

The council has previously raised the issue with the Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry, which in turn contacted the Education Ministry.

In correspondence dated July 25, Education Minister Dr Majid Al Nuaimi told the latter that: "Designs and engineering drawings for the project have been completed in co-operation with experts in your ministry."

However, Ms Al Dossary claimed that was simply a "copy-pasted" reply that had been received before.

"We have been receiving the same reply from the Education Ministry for years," she claimed. "It was literally copy-pasted."

Meanwhile, the council is also pushing for a new pedestrian bridge across Road 4323, linking Block 243 and 244 in Arad.

Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Minister Essam Khalaf last month told the council that the number of pedestrians moving between the two blocks did not warrant a bridge.

However, council chairman Mohammed Al Sinan said a detailed study would be conducted "to convince the ministry about its necessity".

In the past councillors have also complained about severe congestion in Arad near the Muharraq Petrol Station, located off Arad Highway in a crowded district that also includes Seef Mall Muharraq, Arad Fort, two shopping complexes, a number of fast food outlets and shops.

Muharraq has five petrol stations - two in Busaiteen, one in Arad, one in Hidd and one in Al Hala - and councillors have urged authorities to build new ones elsewhere to reduce congestion.

Plans for a sixth petrol station in Galali are underway, but Mr Al Sinan claims Muharraq needs at least six more to serve the growing population.

shahlaa@gdn.com.bh

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Sep 9, 2016
Words:635
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