Minister of Housing, Land and Urban Development Ali Haider on Thursday confirmed that an overseas consultant is being sought for the Ras Malé development at Fushidhiggaru Lagoon.

The 800-hectare development will be an environmentally friendly, climate-resistant, low carbon, safe island concept and the consultant’s job will be to conduct research and analysis to develop the site as an eco-city, Haider said during at a press conference.

“There is analysis and other work that we have to do because it is being developed as an eco-city. We have to do a lot of work especially in setting up the infrastructure so that we can make the development environmentally friendly… Therefore, we are currently in the hiring process of an international consultant to study and analyse the work,” he said.

While local media had earlier speculated that work on the project had been stalled, Haider did not share further information at the press conference.

However, the Housing Development Corporation (HDC), which is overseeing the project, had previously denied the allegations saying that, even though the area currently lacked dredging equipment, work is ongoing. Yet, progress on the project does not seem to meet with deadlines established in the project’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Even though the Housing Minister has mentioned that a consultant is being sought for the project, there has been no announcement placed in the gazette, nor on the Housing Ministry website or the HDC website.

The administration said the land required for the project would be reclaimed within six months; however, no additional details or a detailed plan has been released thus far.

Despite the absence of a publicised plan, President Mohamed Muizzu, during his visit to China, oversaw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with China Machinery Engineering Group Corporation (CMEC), which involves contracting works to develop and establish electricity, water services, as well as roads at Ras Malé.