Palm trees planted on Bahrain's public road spark protest

Two-metre trenches dug on public road to plant palm trees outside property

  

Seventy residents have signed a petition against a man who has dug two-metre trenches on public road in Hamad Town to plant palm trees outside his property.

Area councillor Abdulla Al Qubaisi, who is also the Northern Municipal Council’s technical committee chairman, added that numerous complaints had been filed against the Bahraini but no official action was taken.

Pointing out that eight other citizens found violating municipal regulations were promptly fined by the Northern Municipality, he claimed there was favouritism in the implementation of the law.

“This citizen took over a stretch of public road 10 years ago to plant trees on Road 704 in Hamad Town Block 1207,” Mr Al Qubaisi told councillors during the biweekly meeting yesterday.

“Another citizen has built parking space for his cars on government property which was supposed to be a pedestrian crossing unoccupied by any obstructions.

“The space he is occupying illegally is near drainage openings, a lighting post and other municipal services.”

Mr Al Qubaisi said when complaints were filed with the Northern Municipality, one citizen was fined and the violation cleared while the other was spared.

He also claimed that according to the Traffic Law it was illegal for any administrative authority to issue permits for individuals to occupy public road, and demanded people are treated equally.

Meanwhile, the council’s financial, administrative and legislative committee chairwoman Zaina Jassim highlighted that under law any trees planted on public roads belong to the municipality.

This meant that authorities had the right to take any decision they deemed necessary.

“We have previously sent official correspondences to the council regarding these issues and we have also visited the sites along with officials from the Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry,” said Northern Municipality director general Lamya Al Fadhala.

“It was determined that the location didn’t pose a threat to pedestrians or others, and was in line with the ministry’s beautification strategy.

“I don’t personally know this person, so accusations of favourtism are baseless. These palm trees were planted at a dead end, so they aren’t obstructing cars anyway.

“We don’t issue permits to people to plant trees outside their property boundaries, and if there are violations we have the jurisdiction to decide on the appropriate action.”

Councillors unanimously approved sending an official letter to the Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Minister Essam Khalaf requesting a fair implementation of the law.

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