Monday, 11 June 2012, 07:37 GMT
Erbil is Iraq's best candidate for Arab Tourism Capital accolade
By The Kurdish Globe

Interview with Erbil Governor Nawzad Hadi

Nawzad Hadi, the Governor of Erbil, highlights the governorate's projects and activities

Globe: Erbil is a candidate for the title of the tourist capital of the Arab countries, what are your programs to gain this accolade?

Hadi: The Tourism Ministry in Baghdad has made this decision because Erbil has witnessed a number of quality changes in terms of economic infrastructure and all other aspects and has developed in the past few years in terms of roads, streets, parks, shopping malls and enjoys the best situation compared to all other Iraqi cities for Iraq to contest among other Arab cities for this competition to become the 2014 Arab Tourism Capital.

Globe: What are your projects and steps in the future?

Hadi: The projects are implemented according to the city's master plan on an annual basis. We can see that Erbil grows in a planned and healthy way and by correct and accurate steps. Things are not built and destructed later. Every time we emphasize on the master plan, which decides how the city expands, where the streets are constructed, whereabouts of commercial buildings, which are the locations designated for industrial or residential projects. To implement the master plan, we have annual investment projects. The private sector currently has a very active participation in the development pace.

Globe: What are your strategic projects for this year?

Hadi: If we take the roads and bridges sector, the Erbil-Haji Omaran Dual-Passageway Project is one of our largest projects of this year. It starts with the Pirmam Tunnel and it costs USD 178 million. The Haji Omaran -- Choman road is also being constructed with a budget of USD 40 million. All of these are currently being implemented. Harir -- Choman Road, which is very important for connecting the region with Iran in terms of promoting trade activities and stimulating economic development , has also been designed by the Ministry of Reconstruction and Housing. Moreover, the Erbil-Koya highway project, which is one of the major projects, is being implemented by a Romanian company.

The work at the Qandil Bridge is at the final stages and will complete this year, and we have now announced the Gopal Bridge project near the Ifraz area that connects Erbil and Koya and saves travelers 40-minutes' drive.

The Erbil-Makhmour dual-passageway has been paved to Pirwadood Village, and the second phase from Pirwadood up to Dibaga is under construction. This is a brief of our road projects.

Regarding water projects, the Pirmam-Shaqlawa water project will be complete by the end of next month, and by that time the water wells of Pirmam, Kore, Shaqlawa and Bastora will be closed. Water will be brought to Kore, Pirmam, Bastora, Shaqlawa and Hujran from the Greater Zab. The Ifraz Four project of Erbil is also one of the projects the design of which had been completed last year and is about to be implemented by the Ministry of Municipalities and Tourism. The capacity of the project is 20,000 cubic meter of water per hour and brings water from the Greater Zab through the Tarin area. This will supply water to a number of neighborhoods in Erbil including New Erbil, Sebardan, Kasnazan Subdistrict, Shawais, Mala Omar to the north and northeast of Erbil, and to the east Ayinda Compound, Hasarok 8, Lawan, Binaslawa Subdistrict, Qalai Nwe till Daratoo. This is because in these areas the level of underground water has dropped, but Ifraq 4 will supply water to all these areas.

Globe: What will be the benefit of the green belt of Erbil, which is being planned for?

Hadi: The basic design of the project has been completed, which is the master plan for the green belt. When announced, the major part of it will be implemented by the private sector through owners of the lands covered by the plan. The government cannot implement all of it, hence people and the private sector should also participate. This project adds a significant amount of green area to the capital. The trees planted will be fruit trees.

Globe: What is the percentage of green areas in Erbil now?

Hadi: We should consider Erbil's green area in terms of circles, the circle from the citadel to the 60 meter ring-road, from the 60 meter ring-road to the 100 meter ring-road and then from there to the outside of the city. If we look at the inside of the 60 meter street with all the projects implemented and being implemented, it shows that we are implementing to a standard that emphasizes the existence of green areas.

Globe: When will you start the other phases of the master plan?

Hadi: Everywhere from the Erbil Governorate till the Ministry of health will be destructed and will become a vacant land and turned into a green area. In the next few months the building of the Court will be completed and all the judicial institutions in this area will be transferred to the new building, and the old institutions will be destroyed and greenery will replace old concrete buildings.