The People’s Majlis on Thursday rejected an emergency motion tabled by opposition MP Rozaina Adam over ongoing power cuts in southern Addu City.
The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP for Meedhoo constituency said Addu City suffered power outages for several hours in the past two weeks. The Addu City Council had attempted to hold talks with state-owned Fenaka without any results.
A malfunction in a 750 kilowatt generators is causing the cuts, Fenaka has said.
The people of Addu are “living in fear” as the electricity cuts had affected the street lights of the main roads connected to the Link Road – the main causeway connecting the islands in Addu. The road has not been lit for more than a week, she said and noted a thirteen year old had died in an accident in 2013 because the streetlights were out.
Addu City is the second most populous region in the country with an estimated 30,000 population.
The motion received 27 votes in favor. Two MPs abstained from the vote and 29 voted to reject the motion. Two ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) MP s representing the Addu Feydhoo and Hulhudhoo constituency voted to reject the motion.
Rejecting the motion without debate indicates that the PPM and the government do not want to resolve issues through the parliament, Rozaina said.
After the motion was rejected, oppositions MPs, Rozaina, Maradhoo MP Ibrahim Shareef and Maafannu Hulhangu MP Mohamed Falah have tabled the issue with the Government Oversight Committee and have requested relevant ministries be summoned for questioning.
Speaking at a press conference after the parliament session, Rozaina criticized the PPM saying they had rejected a case “related to a constitutional right to defend the government.”
Article 23 of the Constitution states the establishment of “an electricity system of a reasonably adequate standard on every inhabited Island” is right of every citizen which should be guaranteed by the state “within it’s ability and resources”.
Mid Hithadhoo MP Ibrahim Mohamed Didi said Addu City would be without power if there was a malfunction in a second generator.
Ramadan’s congregational prayer Taraweek was performed without power in most Addu City mosques, he claimed, and called on the Islamic Ministry to look into the issue.
Managing Director of Fenaka Mohamed Nimal today told Vnews it would take at least 45 days to bring the spare from abroad and that the repair would cost approximately MVR 5 million (US$ 324,254).
The corporation is planning to temporarily replace the generator with an 800 Kilo Watt generator – brought in for the AFC Challenge Cup football tournament recently held in Addu.
In addition to Addu city, Noonu Atoll Velidhoo and Laamu Atoll Gan are also facing power outages this Ramadan.
On Wednesday, Velidhoo residents protested outside the powerhouse after a 24 hour long powercut.
‘Noonu‘ a local new website from the Island reported that the outage came as a result of a 300 KW generator, one of the four on the Island, being out of service yesterday.
Attempts to share its load with the other three resulted in overloading and failure of another generator. The website reported in that it is a common occurrence on the island lately.
Although power cuts are relatively common during Ramadan with approximately 25 islands reporting cuts in 2012, they have been dramatically reduced this year, Nimal told Vnews.
The Laamu Atoll Gan Thundi ward electricity issue will remain unresolved throughout Ramadan until the Thundi and Mahinna wards are connected with 1200 meters of cable, he said.
The company is in the process of finding a long tern solution, he added. Fenaka has announced a MVR 141.86 million (US$ 9.2 million) project to provide round the clock electricity to all islands.
The project will provide electricity of 116 kilowatts to 2 megawatts in 78 islands and update the electricity network on thirteen Islands, Fenaka has said.
Fenaka is to acquire 77 new generators for US$ 5.9 million from China’s FuJian Yanan Power. These include 40 generators of 160 -200 kilowatts, 24 generators of 250 – 300 kilowatts and 13 of 500 -1000 kilowatts. The generators are expected to arrive in the Maldives in August.
Cables required for the project are to be procured by Sri Lanka’s Kelani Cables Company through a contract worth approximately US$ 33.9 million
A contract for the distributional boxes for the project was awarded to local Power Engineering company for approximately US$ 16.9 million.