Presidential candidate of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People's National Congress (PNC) Dr. Mohamed Muizzu has said the Thilamalé Bridge connecting Malé, Villimalé, Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi will be completed at the same speed as the Sinamalé Bridge in his government.
Speaking at a campaign event held in Raa atoll Hulhudhuffaaru on Wednesday night, Dr. Muizzu said that the Sinamalé Bridge constructed during his time as Housing Minister during former president Abdulla Yameen's administration was a USD 190 million project.
The Thilamalé Bridge project was undertaken by the current government under Indian loan assistance worth USD 500 million (MVR 7.7 billion). This finance is obtained through a USD 400 million line of credit from Indian Exim Bank and free aid worth USD 100 million from the Government of India. An additional USD 100 million was secured by the government for this project earlier this year as line of credit.
Dr. Muizzu said MVR 190 million have already been spent on the Thilamalé project during the last three years even though the bridge is nowhere near completion. He said that there is no visible progress of work done on the bridge.
"The USD 190 million dollars spent [by Yameen] to construct a bridge is visible [Sinamalé Bridge]. We do not know what happened to the USD 190 million spent by the current government on building a bridge. There is nothing tangible to be seen," said Dr. Muizzu, referring to the bridge currently being developed by Afcons of India.
Dr. Muizzu said that despite the significant amount of money already invested in the bridge, not a single pillar of it is visible. He accused the government of deceiving the people by asserting that the bridge would be operational from July of this year.
Dr. Muizzu has criticised the Thilamalé Bridge project in several campaign rallies while running as a presidential candidate for the PPM/PNC.
"With the grace of God, we will be the ones to get the project back on track. We will be the ones to bring happiness and prosperity to the people and complete the bridge," said Dr. Muizzu.
Dr. Muizzu said that the current government has lost the support of the people due to actions such as deception regarding the bridge project, allegations of corruption during the Covid-19 pandemic, and compromising the nation's independence and sovereignty. He urged the public to demand accountability from the government when they seek votes in the presidential election.