The state confirmed that drilling of a borehole began on Thursday, in order to conduct geophysical surveys for the Male-Thilafushi Link Project, which is intended to connect capital Male and Thilafushi by a bridge.
These surveys are used to produce detailed images or a map of a particular area.
The drilling started in the area between Male-Villimale and on the southern side of the Villimale reef.
This project to conduct a geotechnical survey and land geotechnical was granted to Frugo Company, from the Netherlands. They are one of the world's leading companies in providing geo-data to help their clients design, build and operate assets in a safe, sustainable and efficient manner.
As per Ministry of National Planning and Infrastructure, 25 boreholes will be made on land and another 25 in the sea by Furgo for USD 15 million dollars.
The Ministry urged to take caution when travelling close to the self-elevating platforms at sea, once work commences. It was also highlighted that travelling closer than 100 meters to the platforms is dangerous and should be avoided until the project is complete.
As a precautionary measure diving and swimming in the area is currently prohibited until work is completed.
The self-elevating platforms and other heavy machinery required for the bridge project were brought to Maldives on March 19.
Planning Ministry previously forecasted that official work on the bridge project, which is built using aid received from India, would commence by September. An estimated USD 488 million dollars will be spent on this project.
During the recently held live-broadcasted presidential press conference, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih stated that the economic repercussions of the global COVID-19 pandemic did not pose any strain to the bridge project adding that he saw "no reason to cease the work".
From the initial proposal of the project onward, a number of environmental advocates have spoken out against the building of a bridge connecting Male', Villimale and Thilafushi stating that it would destroy the last natural beaches in the greater Male' region and impact the surrounding reefs and pinnacles in a way that experts unanimously agree, no EIA-mandated measure could possibly mitigate.