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Application for the social housing project delayed

Lamya Abdulla
31 May 2021, MVT 18:56
Hulhumale: Social housing project was delayed due to recent spike in COVD-19 cases -- Photo: Nishan Ali/ Mihaaru
Lamya Abdulla
31 May 2021, MVT 18:56

Housing Ministry has delayed opening the applications for the social housing project aimed at Male' residents due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

In a press conference held in the President's Office in April, Minister of National Planning, Housing, and Infrastructure said a "Housing Need Assessment" conducted by the ministry showed that about 5,600 families require households in Male'. These are people living in areas that are 600 square feet or smaller. He had said that such families would be prioritized when awarding flats.

He said the ministry decided to start a social housing project aimed specifically towards those families and would start the application process in May.

However, State Minister for National Planning, Housing, and Infrastructure Akram Kamaaludheen told "Mihaaru" on Monday that the project has been delayed due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Maldives in May. This has been the month Maldives saw the most amount of COVID deaths. Greater Male' Area is currently under lockdown, in an attempt to stop the control of COVID.

He said they had announced they would open for applications in May because they believed the two companies that were awarded the project would have been able to start with the construction. When the project is 20 percent completed by both companies the ministry will open for applications, Akram said.

Even though the project could not be started in May due to COVID, it is highly likely the project will start next month.

"We will open for applications once the foundation is laid. Minister decided not to go ahead [with applications] while no work has been done for the project," he said.

He said the the construction of 1,000 flats contracted to Apollo was ongoing in Hulhumale' Phase 2. However the work handed to an Indian company is being delayed due to COVID.

"Framework agreements were signed with two companies by FDC (Fahi Dhiriulhun Corporation). The loan arrangements became difficult due to COVID," he said.

However the ministry has not disclosed what companies these projects were awarded nor how many flats were being built.

Minister Aslam has previously said people without a 600 square feet land in Male'. They have to have been people that registered in Male' for over 15 years as well. The ministry will look into other factors such as the size of the family and the current living and financial situation of the families as well.

The lowest points an individual requires to qualify for these flats are 42. The ministry will be prioritizing individuals that score above 75.