Bahrain's main commercial market is undergoing major refurbishing with the authorities pledging better services to both traders and customers.

Designs are ready for the proposed new public facilities, while existing toilets in the Manama Central Market have been tendered for demolishing and reconstruction. Solar roofing to save electricity, paved sidewalks and the remake of the Lulu Shopping Centre are among the other projects planned.

A dedicated area for import activities with temporary licences are also part of the streamlining efforts spearheaded by the Capital Municipality.

These are among an array of community projects lined up by the Capital Municipality as part of ongoing efforts to reinvigorate the area by 2023, according to Capital Municipality director general Mohammed Saad Al Sahli.

A team has been formed for the development work in the Lulu Shopping Centre in co-ordination with the Capital Municipality, and the project will be followed up by Edamah.

The GDN reported last month that Edamah, the government’s real estate arm, had presented to the Capital Trustees Board a three-stage plan to refurbish the landmark Lulu Shopping Centre in Manama to its former glory. The project, likely to cost millions of dinars, focuses on better housekeeping, infrastructure development and promotion to attract visitors.

“The Central Market has recently witnessed several development projects aimed at improving its environment and all its components, as part of the Capital Municipality’s continued efforts to provide best services to traders and customers,” said Mr Al Sahli. “We are also working on developing organised truck parking lots to include paving and asphalting over an area of more than 18,000sqm.”

Mr Al Sahli was speaking at the meeting organised by the Capital Trustees Board where he highlighted other projects to revamp and better maintain the 40-year-old market.

“We also have plans to set up separate public toilets in the old Manama market. Designs for these have been prepared and we hope that the task of managing them will be entrusted to the private sector. There are three proposed sites in the area,” he said.

Making Manama greener is another major initiative the municipality is working on by planting more trees and placing hardy plants in an around the market.

“One of our projects is also to work on lighting open areas of the market through solar cells, which will contribute to saving 30 to 40 per cent on electricity costs.

Another major move involves allocating designated space for importation activities where retail traders receive the majority of bulk items.

“The parking area by the sidewalks in market has been re-planned and has been divided into plots designated for the activities of unloading and selling imported vegetables and fruits,” he added.

“We have issued 34 temporary licences for registered traders who wish to use this area and it means unlicensed users will be eliminated.”

Meanwhile, he also added that the development and rehabilitation of the Sitra Central Market was under scrutiny. “We are also reviewing with the Capital Trustees Board on projects to develop and rehabilitate Sitra Central Market.

“The needs include developing the electricity network, redistributing and planning parking, in addition to constructing concrete walls surrounding existing facilities.

“This is again yet another project that will be carried out in partnership with the private sector.”

Among other projects outlined are a park and playground in Hoora and the Umm Al Hassam walkway. “We also have a project in Hoora, to establish a park and playground at Block 307, on an area of about 1,060sqm. The park is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2022, as well as the construction of the 879m Umm Al Hassam walkway. That project is in the implementation phase, with a construction cost of about BD185,000.”

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