Navigating Progress and Setbacks in Solih-Era Land Reclamation Projects
The land reclamation initiatives spearheaded by the Ibrahim Mohamed Solih administration, with the objective of addressing the housing needs in the Malé region, are advancing at a gradual pace. While specific projects have witnessed substantial progress, others have encountered obstacles leading to delays.
A case in point is the land reclamation project in Gulhifalhu. The original plan under the Solih administration was to relocate the Malé Commercial Harbour to Gulhifalhu and establish a new port. However, this decision was subsequently revised by the Mohamed Muizzu administration, which now intends to relocate the harbour to Thilafushi.
The land reclamation project, awarded to the Netherlands-based company Boskalis on 17 October 2019 for MVR 2 billion, initially encompassed 65 hectares of land reclamation. Subsequently, under the Muizzu administration, the project’s scope was expanded to include an additional 85 hectares of land during its second phase, thereby augmenting the total reclaimed area to 150 hectares. According to the most recent update from the Ministry of Construction and Infrastructure, dated 28 January, 100 hectares of land have already been reclaimed.
Conversely, the land reclamation work in Giraavarufalhu, another initiative launched by the Solih administration, is currently at a standstill. This project, one of the most expensive land reclamation ventures undertaken in the Maldives, has been delayed due to a pending payment for September-October 2023, per Minister of Construction and Infrastructure Dr Abdulla Muththalib.
Under the Solih administration, an initial plan was set forth to reclaim 110 hectares of land from Giraavarufalhu, and to date, 50 hectares of this land have been successfully reclaimed. Subsequently, the Muizzu administration broadened the project’s scope, incorporating an additional 50 hectares to augment the total land area to 160 hectares.
In an interview with PSM News’ ‘Raajje Miadhu’ programme, Dr Muththalib noted, “The progression of the project is currently on hold due to a postponement in the government’s scheduled disbursement for the period spanning September to October 2023.” He added that the government is committed to promptly making the payment and recommencing the stalled reclamation works.
The Giraavarufalhu housing project is accorded high priority by the government to complete the reclamation and develop basic infrastructure and utilities, according to Muththalib. Several companies have already expressed interest in establishing basic infrastructure and utilities on Giraavarufalhu, he added.
The Muizzu administration aims to develop 65,000 land plots and housing units in Gulhifalhu, Giraavarufalhu, and its flagship Rasmalé project in Fushidhiggaru Falhu.
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