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Law ensuring public access to beaches passed

Bahrain News
Wed, 16 May 2018

NEW coastal projects, whether on the mainland or man-made islands, will be obliged to ensure free public access to half of the seafront under a new law approved by MPs yesterday.

Any government official failing to implement the regulation would face one month to a year in jail and fines of BD10,000 to BD100,000.

Developments that deny public access would incur a prison sentence of one to three months and a fine of BD500 to BD1,000.

Penalties would be doubled should the offence be repeated.

The law will now be referred to the Shura Council.

It was approved by MPs despite government opposition.

Another proposed law that would have forced private developers to allocate 25 per cent of reclaimed land for social housing projects has already been shelved, as a result of disagreements between parliament and the Shura Council.

Meanwhile, MPs also approved reduced infrastructure rates for developers.

A law introduced last July required any new real estate project – whether residential, tourism or retail – to pay BD12 per square metre of sellable or rentable space.

However, MPs yesterday approved a new rate of BD3 per square metre.

Income from the levy goes towards infrastructure projects such as road networks, sewerage systems and electricity and water lines.

Parliament also voted in favour of amendments to the 2002 Tenders, Auctions, Purchases and Sales Law, which would reward those bidding for contracts if they had made social contributions and donations.

It would apply in the event of two equal bids, although the government has opposed the idea.

Meanwhile, parliament approved an urgent proposal that would allow Bahraini dentistry students to complete their intern training in Bahrain and referred it to the Cabinet.

***

MPs have approved amendments to the 2017 In-Vitro Fertilisation Law that would allow cloning of unborn babies that are sick, despite opposition from the Health Ministry and the National Health Regulatory Authority – which both deemed the concept unethical.