Dream Homes Turn into Shock, Size of Housing Units in Northern City Only 160 Sq M!

2018-07-27 - 11:59 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Fourteen years after the Crown Prince laid its cornerstone, the Bahraini Ministry of Housing began distributing certificates of entitlement to the "Northern City" houses. This took place in the second half of 2016.

Those who are lucky only receive the keys to the new "houses" after passing through a four-stage cycle, after lengthy waiting periods, which might even reach more than 20 years. After obtaining the certificate of entitlement and the financial situation is stabilized, a house selection draw is conducted, and finally the keys are handed over.

After the recent draw on the first installment of housing units, some citizens rushed to check out the dream life in the Northern City, only to face shock: Cages in the form of houses! Some of these houses were built on spaces not exceeding 160 square meters, in a precedent, making them the smallest houses in Bahrain ever, which contradicts the government's statements that claim the minimum space per house would have been 200 square meters.

This video, recorded in one of the houses of the northern housing area, shows the strange design of these houses, which only reflects the struggle of the architects in dealing with a very narrow space and making it accommodate a house structure with four rooms, a kitchen, hall, number of bathrooms and car garage.

"The houses are not big enough for a child to run around due to the tight space and adjacent rooms," says one of the beneficiaries. "When I entered to see the dream of my life, I felt some kind of shock that I had never felt before. I felt as if I were in a toy house. It has a low ceiling, small rooms that were not spacious enough for any furniture, and no hall, just a narrow corridor."

"The dining room does not have enough space to set up a table," he says astounded. "The rooms on the upper floors are unimaginable. Our dreams collapsed and we remained stunned all the way back."

This bitter reality embodies the deceitful power that destroys the dreams of the poor. They are mini versions of the dream houses, dreams that were stolen by millionaires, and people of power. Some of these impoverished citizens wrote what they saw with heartbreak, and some expressed their frustration by calling for a protest against the government and the Ministry of Housing.

Years of Repression: Rewards of Patience

In the form of letters broadcast through social media, or through Whatsapp groups, some citizens wrote their complaints and expressed their shock, perhaps their voices, of which they lost hope would change anything about the situation, would reach those who may be concerned. They have been put under the de facto situation.

In a letter entitled "The Housing Ministry Homes and the Oppressed Citizen," a citizen described what she saw in the house she had been waiting for for nearly two decades. "We have been suffering from hardships for years. We tasted all sorts of poisons (afflictions) so that we could survive and continue living. The Ministry of Housing stalls and makes the citizen wait, drawing empty promises on the sand, which as soon as the wind blows is scattered without return. The citizen remains patient and struggles, hopeful of the promises, until the wait becomes too long," she said.

"The broad smile on the minister's face makes you feel as if you are among the lucky ones, but we were all shocked by what we saw in the video clips and we were even more shocked when we entered the Northern District houses," she further stated, adding "I wonder if the minister and his entourage would accept living in such cages that he built to destroy people's dreams, which they awaited for so long to bring joy to their families?"

"We can not buy a house or take a loan, since the loans and debts have accumulated, and we can not reject it and say we want another house, or we want it replaced. We were lost and the world crumbled before us. We have children who want to get married and they dreamt of living with us. Our children dreamt of a yard where they can play to compensate for the narrow apartments they have lived in. I do not know how to end my words for I'm still shocked. I ask the Ministry of Housing what should we do now after you have put us in this situation, presenting houses that do not deserve to have the citizen pay for long years of his life, a quarter of his/her salary?"

She then concludes her statement saying: "What a loss of long years of our lives. This is the reward of the patience of people! May God help us citizens!"

Call for Protest

Another citizen suggests: "I think we should stage a protest against the Housing Ministry, as it is unreasonable and unjust to deduct a quarter of the salary for a period of 25 years in return for the northern city houses, just as the houses of Hamad City, when the area of ​​the residential unit in the city of Hamad is about four times larger, and the design of the construction is very ideal."

In addition the costs of "Hamad City's homes have been heavily discounted by a number of royal grants offered by princes at the time. What I mean is that we will pay four times the value of the housing unit, and we will need to completely restructure the interior design, which increases the cost of the housing unit" .

بيوت المدنية الشمالية أصغر من البيوت في نظيراتها من المشاريع الإسكانية!

Diraz Residents

All of the northern city plots of land on which the housing houses were built were erected above coast of the Diraz village, a village has besieged and repressed since June 2016, when the citizenship of the prominent Shia cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, who is from the village, was revoked.

The residents of Diraz were severely punished, harassed and deprived of housing services. While the residents have more than 1,300 housing requests, only 40 to 50 houses have been distributed recently, i.e. a percentage of almost 2% only.

Ironically, the "lucky" citizens who got homes in the northern city also have no access to their homes until they have obtained a security permit from the Budai police station to enter the northern city, due to the ongoing siege imposed on the village of Diraz, and since the city's entrances pass through Diraz. Thus all new residents need to have a certificate of merit issued by the Ministry of Housing to the police station to prove that they have a house there, and obtain a permit to see it.

مساحة بيوت المدنية الشمالية أصغر بكثير من مساحة البيوت في نظيراتها من المشاريع الإسكانية!

False Advertisement

When some critical voices emerged after the distribution of the certificates of merit in 2016, Al-Wasat newspaper reported that the Ministry of Housing said that it "takes into account the specificity of the Bahraini family during the design process of the housing unit" in the most vague governmental statements.

The Ministry claimed at the same time that "the area of ​​all existing housing units, whether houses or apartments, is not less than 200 square meters, and contain at least 3 bedrooms, including all the necessary facilities for the family such as a hall and living room." But this was not true.

Prior to that, the Housing Minister himself had said in an interview with some of the new beneficiaries that "the housing units in the northern city have room for extended expansion," noting that "the expansion rate available ranges from 40 to 45 percent of the constructed area in the residential unit" and that "the expansion is well thought out from all sides, and the designs are ready, and we have a certain amount of flexibility to make an agreement with you on how to execute this expansion."

All of these statements were blatant lies, and an attempt to cover up the crisis, and perhaps a quasi-official recognition that these houses are unsuitable for living in, and that the government wronged its people.
Between the publicity in the media and the wave of official statements about the care given to the housing project and reality, there is a massive difference.

According to the public budget statistics, the government allocated 40% for security expenditure and only 10% for education. The ridiculous situation of housing, which reached only 3% is enough to show citizens and observers that this government and authority only relies on propaganda and false publicity.

With this 3%, with the accumulation of budget deficit and the explosion of public debt, the Crown Prince, the Deputy Prime Minister, wants to build only 25,000 housing units during this period. Even with such humiliating homes, none of these figures will be realized, as the King's promise of a "land plot for every citizen" has not been fulfilled, as well as the latter's promise to build 40,000 units in a statement he made, when the protests at the Pearl Roundabout were at their height!

بيوت المدنية الشمالية أصغر من البيوت في نظيراتها من المشاريع الإسكانية!

 

Arabic Version

 



المصدر: Bahrain Mirror
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