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Work to fence off Tubli Bay on way.

WORK will soon start to fence off Tubli Bay in a bid to stop illegal reclamation said to be destroying the area.

Land just outside of its protected waters that has yet to be reclaimed will also be sectioned off with buoys after numerous cases of trespassing.

The Manama and Central Municipal Councils last year demanded the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry fence off the bay to stop people from intruding into private land, but their request was put on hold due to a lack of funds.

However, work will now be done after the size of the bay shrunk as a result of landlords violating a Royal decree declaring the area a protected zone.

Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi earlier issued a map detailing the exact co-ordinates of the 13.5km bay, but councillors claim authorities failed to clearly mark what areas were off limits.

"The bay is zoned on maps that are in the ministry's database, but in reality it is very difficult to know if someone is reclaiming in protected waters or not," said Central Municipal Council chairman Abdulrazzak Al Hattab.

"Pictures of violating trucks working on reclamation have been presented to us and we have been thoroughly investigating the issue with the ministry to determine if reclamation is being done within an individual's plot of land or is creeping into a protected area.

"The problem has been going on for a very long time and that is basically due to the fact that the place is not fenced off with special gates that can only be opened by municipal inspectors.

"Even those with permits sometimes commit violations while reclaiming their land."

Mr Al Hattab said the ministry had agreed to fence off the protected areas with coloured buoys early next year.

Area councillor Majdi Al Nasheet called for municipal police intervention.

"Nothing will stop trucks from breaking the fence and trespassing late at night," he said.

"It is good that steel fencing will be put in place, but CCTV is needed because municipal police will not be enough considering that there are few of them and cannot stop large groups of violators.

"We have warned several times about trespassing and now the bay is shrunk in size and that is disastrous considering the place has been protected for a reason."

However, Manama Municipal Council vice-chairman Mohammed Mansoor doubts municipal police will be able to stop illegal reclamation.

"They don't work at night unless called on and when they reach the site, they are unable to do anything to stop reclamation since those doing illegal reclamation are mostly VIPs," he claimed.

"There is a special department under the ministry that deals with reclamation and unfortunately they don't work after 2pm or on weekends when most of the violations happen."

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Dec 14, 2013
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