The parliament on Tuesday approved to seek compensation from all entities found to be negligent in the controversial Madaveli-Hoadehdhoo causeway project in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll.
The causeway linking Madaveli and Hoadehdhoo, along with the uninhabited island of Haadhoo, was constructed by the administration of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.
The project was steeped in controversy after the finished causeway resulted in flooding on the islands, due to ineffective water-flow between them. The agricultural island of Hoadehdhoo in particular reported extensive destruction of crops, prompting residents to break up the causeway in September 2018 after authorities failed to respond to their concerns.
In October the same year, it surfaced that the then-government went ahead with the project in spite of its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which reported that the causeway would cause environmental destruction.
Nearly two years on, the parliament made the decision with 61 members voting in favour, after the Committee on Environment and Climate Change compiled a report accusing the then-Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure, and other entities behind the project, of gross negligence.
The report stated that, accordingly, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) could seek compensation for the environmental damages incurred by the project.
The committee's report further called on the government to expedite the work on redesigning the Madaveli-Hoadehdhoo causeway.
Development of the causeway, which was contracted to Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC), commenced in 2016 and was completed in August 2018 following several delays.
Although the initial investment was MVR 29 million from the state budget, the committee's report revealed that additional expenses have raised the project's total cost to more than MVR 31 million.