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Meedhoo requests relocation of Raa Atoll airport from Fainu to Beriyanfaru

Protests in objection of building an airport in the island of Fainu lush with vegetation has prompted the Island Council of Meedhoo to request altering the location of the airport in south of Raa Atoll as pledged by the President from Fainu to Beriyanfaru.

Aishath Shuba Solih
04 March 2024, MVT 08:24
Island life in Raa Atoll Fainu - kids bicycling the streets of the island -- Photo: Hussain Waheed / Mihaaru News
Aishath Shuba Solih
04 March 2024, MVT 08:24

President Dr Mohamed Muizzu had pledged to establish the conflicted Raa Atoll’s southern province airport in the island of Raa Atoll Fainu which the Meedhoo Council has requested the relocation of, to Raa Atoll Beriyanfaru of the southern province yesterday.

Amid the preceded presidential campaign last year, President Dr Mohamed Muizzu had assured that he will make efforts to establish an airport in Raa Atoll Fainu in conformity of the perspective adopted by the former President Abdulla Yameen.

The meeting held with the Meedhoo Council during the President’s visit to the island as part of his first official visit to Raa Atoll since his assumption into office had prompted a proposal to the President requesting to relocate the airport to Raa Atoll Beriyanfaru.

“The airport in the south of Raa Atoll will become the most busily operated airport in the entirety of the country. The reason is all these resorts located in the southern province of Raa Atoll. Fourteen to fifteen resorts. All the resorts in the northern region of Baa Atoll. In review of all these things, including the population of the residential community, the airports established in Beriyanfaru of the southern province of Raa Atoll will become a very busy and, as a result of this, very profitable operation.” said the President of Raa Meedhoo Council, Hassan Shareef during the ceremony held at Meedhoo last night.

The president in his address at last night's ceremony had refrained from directly addressing this request. He stated that the airport established in the southern province of Raa Atoll will be devised to facilitate the best benefits for the people.

"The establishment of airports is our policy. As the Council President said, rest assured, the facilitation of this development will be in the best interests and benefits of the atoll and the region, as per the people's expectations. Consequently, I am sharing my views on the matter," the President stated at the ceremony held in the Meedhoo island school.

President Muizzu received by the community of R. Meedhoo upon his visit -- Photo: President's Office

The former administration had determined to establish the airport of the Raa Atoll’s southern province in Beriyanfaru. Multiple islands in Raa Atoll in addition to Meedhoo had requested the relocation of the airport from Fainu to Beriyanfaru while the islands of the Inguraidhoo Constituency maintains their preference of Fainu as the ideal location.

The construction of the airport in Fainu was appointed to Island Aviation Services during former President Abdulla Yameen’s tenure. The project was commenced with a budget of MVR 8 million, however, saw its discontinuation due to the protests of environmentalists and opposition MDP members, claiming the establishment of an airport in the island will destroy Fainu alongside the island's environment.

Protestors had once again rallied in objection of establishing an airport in Fainu amid the initial announcement of the President pledging this development as well in focus of his present trip across the islands in Raa Atoll.

“A small portion of land needs to be reclaimed to establish an airport in Fainu. Low dredging of land, low-cost, reasonable project. A worthy investment that is sensible for both resorts and the Meedhoo Maduvvaree Constituency in this province; efforts to build an airport in Fainu will be proceeded,” the President had stated on the 30th of August last year.

A number of protestors objecting the facilitation of an airport in Beriyanfaru have also emerged as this island also remains rich in environment. The former administration was set to progress the project in review of the best environmentally friendly procedures.

While the only airport in Raa Atoll is located in Ifuru, efforts to build an airport in Raa Atoll Alifushi has also commenced.

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