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Bahrain parliament wants solution to land reclamation issue

Land reclamation work in Bahrain has increased by 90 per cent

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Gulf News

Manama: Bahrain's lawmakers on Tuesday wrangled for hours over the "most adequate" way to address the controversial issue of land reclamation.

All Members of Parliament (MPs) in the lower chamber agreed that the land reclamation rate in Bahrain was causing economic and social problems and needed to be stopped.

However, they could not agree on how and whom to approach for a permanent solution in line with the recommendations of a parliamentary committee set up 18 months ago to look into alleged land reclamation irregularities. The report outlined 19 recommendations.

MP Abdul Halim Murad, representing Al Asala, the Salafi bloc, suggested an investigation of ministers mentioned in the report. The call was rejected.

Also dismissed was a proposal to set up another committee to oversee the implementation of the recommendations and look into further ways to address the issue.

Several MPs said that the lower chamber should form a delegation that will hold talks with the country's leaders and discuss a possible solution.

Outspoken MP Mohammad Khaled said that land reclamation work had increased by 90 per cent from 2002 to 2007, and had to be halted before people are forced to live on another plant for want of places.

Hassan Sultan, representing Al Wefaq, the largest bloc, charged that the government was unable to stop reclamation work.

On Sunday, fishermen said that they were likely to stage a nationwide strike to demand compensations for "terrible loss of earnings caused by declining fish stocks."

The disgruntled fishermen said that land reclamation and dredging of the seabed had caused a massive reduction in their fish catch and will hold a meeting this month to decide on their course of action.

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