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Municipality works to convert old cemeteries to public parks

The municipality in Kuwait is planning to convert old cemeteries into public parks, despite some on-going protests over such moves.

The Municipal Council, which is responsible for allocation of properties to public institutions, is also in-charge of cemeteries too.

The Director of Municipal Council, Muhalhal Al-Khaled, said that the rule stipulates that after 50 years of disuse, a cemetery is considered as out of service, and can be converted into a park. One such example is the Baladiya Park, which was originally a graveyard. Later, a ruling was issued forbidding this change, and there were suggestions to build multi-storey car parks on cemetery grounds.

Several conflicts ensued thereafter, and the municipality decided not to implement the projects. There are about 50 cemeteries in Kuwait, Failaka Island being one of them.

A cemetery is in Jahra, three in Sulaibikhat meant for Sunnis, Shiites and non-muslims, and one in Subhan. The other cemeteries are no longer in use. The current cemeteries have sufficient space to operate for the next ten years, and there is no shortage at present, and expansion works are also in progress at the Sulaibikhat cemetery.

The cemetery will expand from the boundary wall to Jahra Road and the Mosque, and it will be shifted to residential area in Nahda, Khaled said.

The bodies of about 80 percent of non-Muslims who die in Kuwait have been repatriated. But, the new expansion of Sulaibikhat cemetery will also include the non-Muslim Cemetery, Khaled said.

The Municipal Council is working on various projects, which would be executed in future. A project plan which is currently awaiting approval, includes development and connecting of northern islands with a bridge and building several vital projects there. More such projects are to be executed soon, Khaled said.

The zoo may be moved from Mutlaa to Omariya. It will be much bigger there. Also, Mutlaa will be a residential city, and to have a zoo there is better than in a crowded area, he said.

The Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources have asked for granting control of 18 public parks in various areas in Kuwait, to convert them into indoor parks. Health clubs may be established in these parks with nominal entrance fee, as these parks were in bad condition and nearly abandoned.

Also planned are completion of housing units in various areas including 55,000 houses in Subbiya, 25,000 in Mutlaa, 53,000 in Nawaf City, 43,000 in South Saad Al-Abdullah and 25,000 in South Sabah Al-Ahmad City. Annually about 12,000 homes would be distributed. This may end the housing problems, as there are 106,000 applicants on wait list, he said.

The municipal Council also plans revamp of Entertainment city. Several innovative ideas are under consideration to develop this city in the interest of the public, Khaled said.

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