Housing minister hopes to sign amended TATA contract next week

Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Dr Mohamed Muiz has expressed hope that the amended contract with Indian infrastructure giant TATA Housing regarding the construction of two apartment complexes can be signed next week.

“Based on the most recent communication, we estimate that the amended contract will be signed next week, that is if no further reasons for delays come up,” Muiz told local media.

He stated that the company was expected to commence work on the two sites within a period of 45 days after the signing of the contract, and to complete the projects within a year.

The deal – first signed in 2010 – has faced repeated delays after successive governments sought amendments to the original contract.

“In addition to this project, there is also work on an additional 150 flats that need to be started,” Muizzu said yesterday.

The minister explained that previous delays in signing the agreement had occurred due to the actions of TATA Housing.

After deliberation by the cabinet’s economic council in July, the Housing Ministry had announced intentions of resuming the projects under a revised contract.

The government of Maldives contracted Apex Realty Pvt Ltd – a joint venture between TATA Housing Development and SG 18 Realty – to construct residential apartment complexes on four separate sites in capital Malé city in May 2010.

Work commenced on the Gaakoshi site and former Arabiyya School premises, but was later halted due to pending resolution of numerous contractual issues.

While reasons suggested for the delay included shortages in construction materials and the incumbent government’s reclamation of land plots included in the original deal, TATA was reported in Indian media as expressing concern that local politics were endangering their investments.

Apex Realty also released a press statement in May 2014 indicating its intention to commence work on the apartment complexes within 45 days of getting the final approval from the government of Maldives for the amended contract.

“We are committed to the Maldives project and can start the project within 45 days after the final nod is received from the Housing Ministry and contract amendment is signed,” Apex Realty Director Sandeep Ahuja stated at the time.