Dhigufarufinolhu “destroyed” to construct harbor, claims government

Dhigufarufinolhu, a sandbank in Baa Atoll, has been “destroyed” to construct a harbour for the Royal Island Resort,  claims Mohamed Zuhair, Press Secretary of the President’s Office.

The resort is owned by Republican Party Leader and Maamigili MP Gasim Ibrahim.

While the harbour was being constructed for docking speedboats, Zuhair said the sandbank and the resort were not in the same landmass.

“The sandbank has a massive lagoon. In between the resort and sandbank there is deep blue sea,” he said.

Zuhair said that the destruction of the sandbank would have dire consequences for the ecosystem as its lagoon was home to a plethora of marine life.

“All the plankton, fish, bait, sea turtles who come ashore to lay eggs, corals in the area and many seabirds fled after the sandbank was destroyed,” he explained.

Zuhair added that the government has received a numerous complaints about the environmental impact of the construction.

“All the bait the [fishermen] caught there is gone, all the seabirds, which they used to locate fish, are gone after the harbor was constructed,” Zuhair said.

He further claimed that all living coral in the areas was now dying because of the spread of silt produced during the construction.

However, he added, the government could only take any action when the case was reported officially.

”The former government awarded that sandbank in the 1970s,” he said.

Environmental impact

According to Google Earth, the distance between the sandbank and the resort is approximately 1,065 feet.

The lagoon of the sandbank was approximately 2.9 kilometers in length and 1.3 kilometers in width.

Ibrahim Naeem, director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said sandbanks were an essential part of the ecosystem.

”Birds and turtles go there, fish in the area die if there are no rocks,” Naeem said. “The plankton and corals in the area will also die if a sandbank is destroyed.”

Naeem stressed that silt was a very dangerous substance.

”If it gets inside the respiratory system of a fish, they will have difficulty breathing,” he said. ”If it reaches the eye they will suffer from poor eyesight.”

He added that “whether Gasim or Hassan” was responsible was immaterial as the environmental impact would be the same.

Moreover, he said, construction of harbours was generally very harmful to the environment.

Gasim said he was out of the country and could not comment on the matter.


21 thoughts on “Dhigufarufinolhu “destroyed” to construct harbor, claims government”

  1. Hmm, since Gasim started to be critical of the government, his business activities are harmful to the environment. The MDP led government has not learned how to work with others and are destined to fall from grace sooner than later.

    I'm no supporter of Gasim, since he is responsible for a lot of the economic mismanagement that took place whilst he was Finance Minister.

    However, there is a clear pattern emerging. Anyone who takes a different line to the government starts to feel the heat. So much for good democracy and governance!

  2. A prime example of habitat loss for various marine species due to human interaction, just like the deforestation of rain forests.

    I suppose an EIA has been undertaken and approved by the ERC under the former government. Nothing can be done about it now.

    In future, EIAs have to be looked into deeper, and proposals with a severe detrimental effect on the environment such as this project have to be rejected - simple as it is. Encourage the EPA to be stricter!

  3. Since when did Juhaa become an environmental expert? Shame on this government!
    Juhaa, you ingorant bastard, there's an environment protection agency which have the official mandate to make such remarks! this is not somehting for the president's press secretary! Mind your own goddamn business!

  4. Dear Maldivians,

    The present government has brought this out just after the bussiness tycoon Gaasim has gone to the podium to criticise the new govetment. That's a fact.

    It is also a fact that the actual damages done to your environment by Gaasim is actually illegal and liable in any court of law (but I doubt that anything can be done since most of the judges are on Gayyoom's side.)

    Constructive critisism and rationalisation together with some logic in disscussing with issue will only bring a good change to the poor Maldivians. Otherwise, you're all - I'm sorry to say this - but letting dictators like Gayyoom to return to power. Not him actually but his guys backed by him. So be wise. Be wise. Think about your life. I know how most Maldivians live. How poor most of them actually are. Dosen't even have their own homes. Most are renting places in Male for quiet a huge rent. Most don't even can't afford to eat a strawberry in a year. These are also facts. Ask yourselves why your life simply sucks - although you're all too happy to drink the continuous LAVAZZAs.

  5. The very fact that Juhaa had to raise this issue and speak on it makes the whole issue politically motivated. This is because Juhaa is the press secretary of the highest political establishment in the country. And its none of their business to raise such issues. And the timing of this comment brings much weight to the argument that this is pure political harassment against a political figure who recently turned south!! So much you can learn from Maumoon when you sit at the same chair he warmed up for 30 years!!!

  6. Juha the master "Jack of all arts and also tart". Miee varugadha "roanu edhureh dhoa. I think that it would be better for MDP to propose Mr. "Juha the joker" for Presidency. No wonder this is the result of all his "enlightened years".

  7. Remoras who feed off Gasim would naturally attempt cover ups. The photos are self explanatory. Zuhair need not comment, though he would when he was specifically asked about it. However, the pictures make evident the larger truth. Destroying a sand bank is destoying a much larger island in the making.

  8. EIAs done here are usually not a valid thing. It is done by someone from a related ministry who is moonlighting during the weekend. How can someone possible do a such study in a couple of days?

  9. Juha is high lighting a complaint president recieved from the public. Today public is very aware about enviromental issues, so they wont keep quiet. Every Maldivian will comment about enviromental issues to the extent juha commented. you don't need a masters from Fiji or Vatuvatu university to make such a comment.Those of you who benefitted from public funds went through Qasim's hand will jump up and down.

  10. Plus that harbor has existed for quite some time. Why is Zuhair bringing it up now? It stinks of dirty politics.
    Minivan should come up with a list of all the environmental destruction Gasim has done. It'd make a nice article. I'll help to start
    1) Dredging to make an airport in Adh Maamigili altering island, destroying the beach of the island next to it
    2) Destroying the best Whale Shark spot in Maldives due to the dredging activity
    3) Making some godforsaken breakwater in Lankan Finolhu. I would like to know who the hell gave approval for them to make that

    to be continued...

  11. found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

  12. Dear Juha

    This is the environmental cost of development. For instance the president himself started a project to create a harbour for people of Rasdhoo just last Friday. Where do you think the extra 160,000 sq ft of land come from. The maldivian resorts do need harbours to keep there boats in, its the way it works juha. Try to understand that when a resort or an airport is built on reclaimed land environment looses. Juha stop harassing the opposition like maumoon did learn how to co-exist without going all out to destroy peoples livelihoods. If Gasim goes bankrupt is the government going to subsidies all his staff into a tourism cooperation? If he has broken any laws let the authorities concerned handle it don't but into everything for instance if Champa Afeef farts every 5 seconds don't go complaining about the amount of gases that he is releasing and how it will harm our ecosystem.

    your sincerely

    PS Mundhoodh says that you remind him of himself

  13. Don't forget that the ever-so-environmentally friendly World Bank funded much of Gasim's ecodestruction.

  14. Google Earth pics of Royal Island with the destroyed sandbank would make a wonderful postcard for tourists who stay there. They would have endorsed the destruction of a natural habitat and an island in the making by staying at Royal Island.This type of monumental ecodestruction should be informed to anyone who stays at a Villa Hotel.

  15. One of the points Mr. Zuhair made was that creating a harbor for Royal Island (Horubadhoo) should be within that island's lagoon.I mean did the government give another much larger lagoon, separated by deep blue sea from that island for Mr. Gasim to make the boat harbour in the same bid? Lets say the bid says "the island", which could mean the entity that is surrounded by its own lagoon. Not the island plus destruction rights of a huge lagoon next door. That makes two properties. These are the legalities that needs adjudication.

  16. The Press Secretary responds to queries he is asked, when he is asked. He only reflects existing issues in his responses. Attacking him because he was quoted is like shooting the messenger for bad news, or cracking the mirror whenever Gasim and his parasites see their ugly images.

  17. Kudos for Minivan and Zuhair for speaking out against this eco-crime. Bluepeace should take Mr. Gasim to Court. DO Sappe and the likes and some of the media in Maldives,greedy for Gasim's money wont publish this. Way to go, Minivan. Develop the story to its natural conclusion. Lead it on to a water-tight court case.

  18. EIA is a must under the Environmental Protection Act of 1993. If there is no EIA done, still Mr. Gasim can be fined.

    Mr.Gasim also can be sued under the Article 22 of the new constitution chaired by him for the breach of fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution. Why the Human right Commission is silent on this issue.

    The Chapter II, Article 22 of the Constitution of the Maldives clearly stipulates that it is a fundamental duty of the State to protect and preserve the natural environment, biodiversity, resource and beauty of the country for the benefit of the present and future generation.

  19. The way this has come for sure it will be branded as politically motivated. But lets agree that Qasim operates cow boy style and no one dared to speak against him then and even now. If you look around his properties be it, Paradise Island, Lankanfionolhu , his area in Thilafushi and Sun Island and now Maamigili. Its high time someone cut him down to his size even if the govt has to take over Maamigili Airport. His intention is to make this an international airport and set up his dream airline Villa Air base there, I can bet he will not follow any aviation regulations as well. He is always right..simple.


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