The Ministry of National Planning, Housing and Infrastructure has initiated the allotment of land plots in Gulhifalhu under the Binveriya scheme. 

The first batch saw 21 recipients awarded land plots on Tuesday, 5 September, with Ahmed Shakir, a 65-year-old Malé City resident, among the first to receive his property registry.

Shakir, who has spent three decades living in rented apartments across Malé City, underscored the significance of this move by describing it as a “joyful moment” to finally have land to call his own. “There is a house that belongs to my dad, and he has 10 children. So, it is a joyful moment for me to have my own land,” Shakir shared with the media.

Akram Kamaluddin, the State Minister for the Ministry of National Planning, Housing and Infrastructure, said remaining recipients who have been allocated land on the island of Gulhifalhu will soon receive their plots and registries.

The government is optimistic that the island will see its first group of settlers within the next two years. Kamaluddin also assured that all basic services, including sewage systems, will be established on the island in due course.

The Binveriya scheme has been envisioned as the current government’s largest endeavour. Besides Gulhifalhu, where a total of 2,218 plots are expected to be allocated, the government aims to distribute 1,351 plots in Hulhumalé and reclaim land from Giraavaru for the allocation of an additional 5,432 plots. All in all, more than 18,000 eligible applicants stand to gain from this comprehensive scheme.

The ministry commenced the process of plot allotment and registry handover on 27August, aiming for a completion deadline before 5 November. To expedite the process, land regulations have been amended to give discretionary authority to the ministry, bypassing local council authorities.

Mohamed Arif, Senior Executive Director at the Planning Ministry, said that the establishment of sewerage systems on Gulhifalhu is the next priority and that work is slated to commence by January of next year at the latest. “We are already working in this direction, in collaboration with stakeholders,” Arif noted.