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Fri 1 Sep 2006 04:00 AM

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Bahrain to get first ‘labour town’

Planned US $35 million township for 6,000 construction workers could improve standard of living conditions

Construction of a US $35 million (BD13.1 million) township for labourers could get underway in Bahrain early next year.

The development would operate through a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) scheme and could take 18-24 months to construct.

Al Enma’a House for Real Estate is behind the proposal to create safe, clean living conditions for 6,000 labourers.

The company is awaiting approval from the Bahraini government for the long-term lease of 67,000m2 of land in the new industrial area in Hidd.

A feasibility study and designs for the self-contained township have already been presented to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

The company is also in talks with the Ministry for Social Affairs as well as ambassadors from India, Pakistan, the Philippines and Bangladesh — where most of the kingdom’s expatriate workers come from.

“There has been a government crackdown on labour camps that are completely unsafe. Levels of hygiene among some are terrible,” said Krishnan Iyer, chief finance officer, Al Enma’a House for Real Estate.

“But before this happened we suggested to the government that there was a need for such a project and we are more than willing to do it.”

The proposed complex includes air-conditioned rooms that accommodate up to four workers, as well as recreational and entertainment facilities, a supermarket and a medical centre. There will also be prayer rooms, a mosque and 24-hour security.

“We are also in talks with a cafeteria contractor and will be investing in a huge cafeteria that will provide meals for about 4,000 people at one time, twice a day,” added Iyer.

Infrastructure, civil and building contracts are expected to be open to local and international companies, although facilities management will be taken on by local firm, Energy Central.

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