The government has this week signed contracts with Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) for the reclamation of Guraidhoo and Madifushi islands, both in Thaa atoll.
In Guraidhoo, MVR75.2 million (US$4.8 million) will be spent on reclamation of 27.5 hectares of land, while 45 hectares will be reclaimed from Madifushi with a budget of MVR126 million (US$8.1 million).
Meanwhile, the mayor of Addu has said that the city – the country’s second most populated area with over 30,000 inhabitants – is being hit hard by government budget cuts.
Development projects have to be approved by the Ministry of Environment through an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) -which is reviewed by the EPA. Minivan News has learned that the EIA for the Guraidhoo land reclamation was approved within four working days.
Earlier this month the government signed contracts with Boskalis International for the reclamation of four islands – Eydhafushi, Thulusdhoo, Dhaalu Meedhoo, and Kudahuvadhoo.
The combined projects will cost MVR572 million (US$37 million). The work is expected to begin within a month of signing, and to be completed within 540 days.
Abdulla Sodig has said that the MVR700 million that was approved by the Housing Ministry to be included in the budget for Addu City later disappeared when the government sent the budget to parliament for approval.
“Hithadhoo harbor project that started in 2011 is on halt now, we still need another MVR3.5 million for that. But only MVR1.5million was allocated for that. Similarly, Hulhumeedhoo harbor project is also on halt now,” Sodig said today.
Other projects budgeted for Addu City development include road construction with MVR10 million and MVR25 million for water and sewerage, an amount Sodig claims is insufficient.
Compared to Addu’s large urban population, the average population of the six islands involved in the proposed reclamation projects is approximately 1,300.
Addu City has long been a stronghold of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party – a fact reinforced in recent local council elections, while the six islands involved in the proposed reclamation projects, with the exception of Meedhoo, all gave majority votes to President Abdulla Yameen in the 2013 elections.