Housing minister informs MPs of Addu City development plans

Housing Minister Dr Mohamed Muiz has told the Majlis of plans for a large number of infrastructure projects in Addu City this year.

Construction of housing units, harbours, roads, health centres, sports facilities, and mosques as well as upgrading of schools are among development projects in the pipeline for the Maldives’ southernmost atoll.

Responding to a query from Addu Meedhoo MP Rozaina Adam at today’s sitting of parliament, Muiz said that developing the second city was a priority of President Abdulla Yameen’s administration.

Muiz noted that harbour construction in the Hithadhoo and Hulhumeedhoo wards were underway and were expected to be completed by the end of the year.

A project for deepening the Maradhoo harbour is also expected to commence this year, he said.

Preparations were also underway to commence a road construction project in Addu City, Muiz revealed, adding that the ministry expected to award the project to a contractor in July.

Questioning of ministers resumed in parliament today after a hiatus of more than two years. Under parliamentary rules of procedure, MPs are allowed to pose questions to cabinet ministers at parliament sittings following a 14-day notice.

Continuing the list of development projects, Muiz said permits have been secured from the Addu City council for a housing project financed by a loan from the Chinese EXIM bank, for which “detailed drawings” have now been completed.

“The work that is currently ongoing is putting up fences around plots of land designated for this project and preparing the site,” he explained.

Application forms have also been processed for 25 row houses built in the Feydhoo ward by the Housing Development Corporation (HDC), said the minister, noting that the final list was announced on June 11 – while the lottery draw took place yesterday (June 23).

Moreover, projects overseen by the Office of Programmes and Projects – which functions under the Housing Ministry – include the upgrading of the Addu zone stadium ahead of May’s AFC Challenge Cup and the construction of classrooms in Hithadhoo, he said.

Projects in the bidding stage meanwhile include construction of a mosque in Meedhoo with a capacity of over 700 worshippers, the addition of eight classrooms to the Hithadhoo Nooranee School, and construction of a four-storey building in Feydhoo with 12 classrooms.

The ministry expects these projects to commence during 2014, Muiz said.

A “design and supervision consultancy agreement” has also been signed for the construction of a 100-bed hospital in Hithadhoo with loan assistance from the OPEC fund, Muiz revealed.

Discussions were presently ongoing with the Addu City council on designating a different site for the hospital as the plot of land initially chosen was adjacent to a football stadium, Muiz added.

The minister explained that changing the site would require approval of the financier, which could see the project halted for some months.

Harbour construction in the Meedhoo ward is meanwhile expected to be complete by the end of November.

Following Muiz’s answer, opposition Maldivian Democratic Party MP Rozaina inquired about stalled road construction and installation of street lamps in Hulhumeedhoo.

She noted that the road construction project was launched by the Road Development Corporation in May 2013 under an agreement to complete the work within a year.

In response, Muiz said discussions were ongoing with the Finance Ministry to secure finances for the stalled road construction project.

Installation of street lamps was a municipal task undertaken by the city council, he noted.