Polluting Al-Ahsa cement firms refuse to relocate
The Al-Ahsa Municipal Council has expressed deep concerns about the failure of eight cement factories to relocate. The owners have refused to move their operations to the new industrial area on the Al-Ahsa-Gulf road despite four years of continuous urgings.
Nahed Al-Jabr, head of the Al-Ahsa Municipal Council, said that all attempts made by the council and the relevant government agencies over the last four years have been unsuccessful. The owners have refused to move from residential and agricultural neighborhoods to a new location approved by the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs.
Al-Jabr said that six of the eight factories had originally planned to move and were in the process of doing so when they suddenly refused. The other two owners announced their refusal from the beginning, and their power supply was subsequently cut off.
“The municipal council has received many complaints from citizens as the distance between the houses and some cement factories is less than 12 meters. Over the last two years, the council has offered a package of services to encourage the factories to move,” he said.
Al-Jabr said that all required needs had been completed, including the building of roads, provision of electricity and water, the approval for the construction of a roundabout to allow easy movement of machinery and equipment. Petrol stations and food supply stores have also been built.
“The basic needs of factories to streamline and facilitate their transition to the industrial city include the provision of proper and safe entrances, the establishment of a bridge with easy transportations and asphalted roads, as well as the provision of electricity, and supportive services,” said one of the members at the Al-Ahsa Chamber.
The factories’ refusals are for many reasons, which include the expense of building a new facility, lower costs of transportation from the old factories due to their proximity to urban sites, competition in the tenders due to low costs, and the claim that the old factories were environmentally friendly.