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Government publicizes temporary list of Hiyaa social housing recipients

Ahmed Aiham
24 August 2020, MVT 18:19
he social housing towers developed under the Hiyaa Project in Hulhumale's second phase. PHOTO: AHMED AWSHAN ILYAS / MIHAARU
Ahmed Aiham
24 August 2020, MVT 18:19

Ministry of National Planning, Housing and Infrastructure, on Monday, released the temporary lists of recipients for flats under the 'Hiyaa Public Housing Project', in four categories.

According to the ministry, the categories include doctors and nurses (H4), teachers (H5), residents of Male' (H8) and persons with disabilities and their families (H10).

As per the Presidential Committee Investigating Public Housing Schemes, any individual that wishes to dispute the list may submit their complaints via the official 'Hiyaa Complaints Portal' - https://hcp.presidency.gov.mv/ before the deadline of 1500 hrs on September 14.

Compared to the previous allocations of the 7,000 social housing units contracted by jailed former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, the incumbent administration will distribute 233 apartments to doctors and nurses, as opposed to the 475 previously allotted. According to Housing Minister Mohamed Aslam, although more than 400 had applied for the flats, less than half scored the 50 percent marks required to qualify and the 233 recipients are those that met the criteria.

Further revisions include the 523 flats to doctors compared to the 625 allotted before, and 1,772 flats to Male' residents in contrast with the 1,000 allotted previously.

The former administration previously distributed flat guarantees to recipients. However, the new list nullifies such guarantees, and is distributed based on new evaluations by the administration of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

As per scoring guidelines, 30 percent of the score is awarded based on the living conditions of the applicants. How the previous adminstration evaluated living conditions remain unclear, while the current government conducted door-to-door evaluations.

Housing Minister Mohamed Aslam also noted that the temporary lists of the remaining categories will be publicised upon completion of necessary assessments.

In response to growing criticism over setbacks in disseminating the list, Minister Aslam previously stated that delays were caused by a committee member testing positive for COVID-19 and subsequent quarantining of committee members as close contacts.

The minister had also earlier claimed that the list would be publicised at the end of July, as guaranteed by the committee.

Moreover, major concerns have also been raised in the past over the size and interior of the flats. A number of people have spoken up about the ill-thought design and space allocation throughout the apartments, noting poor ventilation features, lack of toilet space as well as washing and drying allocations.

In addition, the Yameen administration had initially planned to distribute the Hiyaa apartments to recipients without completing finishing works such as installing doors and lights, painting and tiling the walls and floors.

The move had drawn contempt from the current government including President Solih, describing it as another burden to be borne by the flat buyers. The govt had then declared plans to take an additional loan of USD 45 million to cover the finishing prior to handover.

However, among increasing complaints from the public over the delay, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih announced the government's U-turn on the decision this year. He stated that handing over the flats without the finishing works, as per the previous administration's plan, was the only solution to prevent more delays.

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