Agreement signed for Hulhumalé phase two reclamation project

A framework agreement was signed between the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and Belgian company Dredging International N.V. on Thursday (July 17) for the US$50 million Hulhumalé phase two reclamation and coastal protection project.

Managing Director Suhail Ahmed signed the agreement on behalf of HDC while Amedeo Peyron, resident manager for the Indian subcontinent, signed on behalf of Dredging International N.V.

Speaking at a ceremony held in Nasandhura Palace Hotel, Suhail explained that a US$30 million loan facility from the Bank of Ceylon and US$20 million from the HDC’s reserves would be used to finance the project.

“Bank of Ceylon has given assurances of providing the loan for this project. So we will be able to begin the project in the next month or so,” Suhail said.

While the dredging and reclamation work would be completed by February 2015, Suhail said the coastal protection work would be completed in December 2015.

HDC revealed last month that the project involves reclamation of 240 hectares of land “with a target population of 100,000 people.”

The corporation said in a press release that development plans for the fully reclaimed artificial island includes residential developments, a business district and “commercial spine,” a light industrial park, a yacht marina and cruise terminal, a knowledge and technology park, a heritage island a tourism district.

“Both Hulhumalé Phase I & Phase II developments are planned in line with the government’s overall vision to bring sustainable youth related developments,” the press release stated.

Dredging International also carried dredging and land reclamation in phase one of the Hulhumalé development project.

Reclamation in the second phase will expand the size of the artificial island from 188 hectares at present to 410 hectares.

According to the company’s website, Dredging International NV was established in 1974 and specialises in “the construction and development of harbours, artificial islands, estuarial dams, canals and inland waterways, dyke construction and reinforcement, beach replenishment and coastal protection, supply of dredged aggregates and salvage activities.”

Developing a ‘youth village’ in Hulhumalé with a population of 50,000 was a key campaign pledge of President Abdulla Yameen.

Speaking at a ceremony in Thulusdhoo in May, President Yameen said the government’s objective was to relocate people from small islands in the atolls to Hulhumalé.

Economic opportunities in small islands were limited due to their size and isolation, he added.

The government hoped youth from smaller islands would migrate to Hulhumalé as well as other islands selected for land reclamation, Yameen said.

In April, Yameen said the HDC’s development plans were being revised to achieve the new administration’s goals.

The vision for the youth city includes a “technopolis park” as well as entertainment and sports facilities, he said, in addition to facilities for the tourism and fisheries industries.

Meanwhile, in February, Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed pledged that the Malé–Hulhulé bridge project – which he described as “iconic for the whole region” – would be completed in two years.