The state-owned Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) has said that the number of projects awarded to the company has increased fourfold in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the same period last year.
MTCC revealed in its first quarterly report for 2014 made public yesterday that 18 projects have been awarded to the company this year while only four were awarded in the first quarter of 2013.
While the company completed several harbour and construction projects this year, MTCC noted that difficulties in importing construction material from India had stalled progress.
Among the projects completed by the MTCC during the first quarter included a harbour construction project in Faafu Bilehdhoo, deepening of a channel in Haa Alifu Kelaa, harbour construction in Laamu Kunahandhoo, and development of the Thaa Thimarafushi Domestic Airport.
The Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) has suspended harbour projects on four islands over the lack of construction material.
The government-owned public company said in a press release today that construction has stalled in Noonu Manadhoo, Shaviyani Komandoo, Raa Ungoofaru and Faafu Feeali as the remaining work required reinforcement rock boulders or conglomerate.
“Continuing such large projects while conglomerate is not available from India has resulted in a more than 100 percent increase in the price of materials as well as many logistical difficulties,” the press release stated.
It added that the company won the bids for the harbour projects based on the prices of construction material available from India at the time.
“In the past three months, the company has tried in various ways to purchase aggregate. At the same time, the company is also working with all the institutions involved in this matter to speedily resolve this issue,” the press release concluded.
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 of the supply of construction material and subsequent rising costs for construction companies.
The Indian government’s decision followed a diplomatic row with Maldives over the current administration’s termination of a concession agreement with Indian infrastructure GMR to upgrade and develop the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA).
In December last year, Indian authorities also tightened visa restrictions for providing medical visas to Maldivians, leading to people queuing outside the Indian High Commission to obtain visas to travel for medical treatment.
In some instances, local people complained of queuing for over 24 hours outside the High Commission’s building in Male’ to try and get a limited number of daily tokens.