The Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) has announced the purchase of 18,000 tonnes of breakwater rocks required to complete the construction of five island harbours previously stalled due to a lack of the material, according to local media.
Sun Online has reported that the company had acquired the materials from a shipment previously imported to the country by Indian infrastructure group GMR for construction of a new terminal at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA). The airport development deal, signed during the administration of former President Mohamed Nasheed, was declared void last November by the government of President Dr Mohamed Waheed.
A MTCC spokesperson told local media that the acquisition of breakwater rocks would allow the company to resume construction work on harbour projects for five islands.
These islands include Manadhoo in Noonu Atoll, Ungoofaaru in Raa Atoll, Komandoo in Shaviyani, Feeali in Faafu Atoll, while a harbour is also being constructed in Meemu Atoll
The 18,000 tonnes of special rocks are now being transported to the islands, with authorities estimating that there would be enough building material to begin work on four harbours, with a further acquisition of breakwater rocks expected soon, according to Sun Online.
MTCC announced last month that it was suspending harbour construction on four of the islands as the remaining work required further supplies of reinforcement rock boulders or conglomerate.
On February 15 this year, the Indian government revoked a special quota afforded to the Maldives for the import of aggregate and river sand. The move led to a shortage in the supply of construction material and subsequent rising costs for construction companies.
The Indian government’s decision followed a diplomatic row with the Maldives following the current administration’s termination of the concession agreement with GMR to upgrade and develop INIA.
The government’s sudden eviction of the Indian investor did not however appear on a list of 11 grievances handed to all senior Maldivian reporters by the Indian High Commission in January. The list instead included concerns such as discrimination against Indian expatriates and the confiscation of passports by Maldivian employers.