20 thoughts on “Bahrain poverty drives workers to suicide

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  11. Councillors urge aid for 4,000 Bahraini homes

    Manama, 1 days ago

    Councillors plan to lobby the government to fund 4,000 Bahraini families, who cannot afford to renovate their dilapidated homes.

    They want to reintroduce the His Majesty King Hamad Scheme for Dilapidated Homes, which was turned into a loan-based system under the Housing Ministry in 2012, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

    They fear thousands of families are living in danger as their homes could collapse any time.

    All 40 members of the country’s five municipal councils will attend a joint meeting on February 6 for the first time in their 12-year history to discuss the issue.

    The scheme was originally a grant under the Royal Charity Organisation and was overseen by the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry for 10 years.

    Around 4,000 homes have already been rebuilt and the last batch of houses will soon be distributed at a ceremony.

    Muharraq Municipal Council chairman Abdulnasser Al Mahmeed said suspending the original grant was unfair to other families who live in rundown structures.

    “Those 4,000 families are ineligible for the loans from the Housing Ministry because they are aged above 50 and are mostly pensioners. In other cases they don’t have jobs and can’t afford to pay loan instalments,” he said.

    “It is unfair to build homes for 4,000 families for free and then stop when other homes need to be torn down and rebuilt.

    “The scheme should be ongoing and should not stop because what’s not dangerous today will be dangerous in the next few years.”

    Al Mahmeed said outcomes of the meeting will be sent to His Majesty for immediate action.

    “We don’t want the government to rebuild the 4,000 homes all at once, we want directives from the King with orders to come up with a plan to clear the current waiting lists,” he added.

    “The current 4,000 homes may increase by 500 or 1,000 in two years, so the issue has to be addressed quickly if we are to successfully ensure nothing is pending.”

    The meeting was scheduled for January 7, but was postponed over disagreements on the agenda.

    Two council chairmen had also rejected the inclusion of a decision to scrap the Joint Municipal Fund, which collects revenue from Bahrain’s five municipalities, and turns it into individual funds for each body. – TradeArabia News Service

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  12. Customers blow fuse over power in Bahrain

    Manama, 4 hours, 14 minutes ago

    Government employees have allegedly been threatened with weapons and attacked after being sent to cut the power supply of people with outstanding bills.

    A senior Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) official said that electricity substations had also been vandalised by angry customers during an extraordinary meeting of the Muharraq Municipal Council on February 9, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

    In some cases the police had to be called to accompany emergency teams to cut electricity connections, said EWA central stores director Shaikh Ibrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa.

    “We send private electricity contractors with our officials to remove fuses, and seconds before we do that, we negotiate with homeowners or landlords to settle payments, most respond, but others turn violent,” he told councillors.

    “Those refusing to pay threaten our officials with weapons, attack them and shout insults.

    “In one case an official feared for his life after a substation door was broken and someone tried physically to stop him from cutting electricity.”

    Shaikh Ibrahim said cutting the electricity supply was a last resort, but action had to be taken and the EWA had managed to recover BD14 million ($37.1 million) in current and outstanding bills from just the Muharraq Governorate.

    “There are 167 families still left with outstanding bills in Muharraq ranging between BD5,000 and BD12,000. Most have expressed their willingness to pay, but others are refusing and we can’t give them more time,” he said.

    “In a case during the weekend, a Saudi national having a Bahraini mother, living in Muharraq, refused to pay, despite me personally trying to negotiate with him and he went online saying that it will affect relations between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, but that didn’t stop us from cutting the electricity on him.”

    Shaikh Khalid said the council could present the EWA with a list of people who cannot afford to pay and a deal would be made.

    “We have a separate list for those officially registered with the Social Development Ministry and we are not speaking about them, but others who are not listed as needy.”

    Councillors yesterday voted to stop the EWA from cutting electricity of people unless they were informed about what steps had been taken beforehand.

    Council chairman Abdulnasser Al Mahmeed urged the EWA not to target needy families.

    “We are not against collecting payments, but there are genuine humanitarian cases that need consideration, and the EWA has to inform us a month before it takes a decision to cut power so we can resolve the issue from our side,” he said. – TradeArabia News Service

    http://www.tradearabia.com/news/OGN_251698.html

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