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Work on GMCP, Gulhifalhu Port will begin next year: Economic Minister

Shahudha Mohamed
11 November 2020, MVT 08:41
Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
11 November 2020, MVT 08:41

Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail, on Monday night, declared that the Greater Male’ Connectivity Project (GMCP) and the Gulhifalhu reclamation project will commence within next year.

The GMPC project is the largest project announced in President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s administration.

Maldives signed a USD 400 million credit line agreement from India’s Export Import Bank (EXIM) to fund the GMCP, in addition to the USD 100 million grant extended by India to facilitate the project.

Speaking at PSM’s “Raajje Miadhu” programme, Fayyaz noted that bidding for the Gulhifalhu Port project was open till upcoming Thursday and bidding for GMCP will also conclude on November 26, adding that both projects will be carried out simultaneously.

According to Fayyaz, EXIM bank will choose and notify the government of the parties that qualify for the project within a one-month period, and the official tender will be finalised shortly thereafter.

He added that the projects will be handed over to contractors in early 2020, and work will commence around May or June.

The largest component of 2021’s State Budget is also allocated for the project, consisting of MVR 444.9 million.

Components of the GMCP

- Construction of three 140-metre navigation bridges across the deep ocean channel between the islands

- Construction of 2.96 kilometres of at-grade roads in the islands included under the GMCP

- Establishing a signalized junction in the land interchange area in Vilimale' and Male'

- Construction of roundabouts in Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi

- Construction of a bus terminal on each island at the bridge's junction points

- Installation of solar panels on lamp posts and bridge parapets in order to power road lights, navigation lights and CCTV cameras along the bridges

The bridge links, as well as the Gulhifalhu reclamation project, has come under heavy criticism from local NGOs, environmental movements and conservationists that assert that the mega-infrastructure project will result in irreversible damage to a fragile marine environment.

Intended to facilitate the relocation of the Male’ Commercial Port and create accommodation for 40,000 expatriates, the ongoing Gulhifalhu project which involves the reclamation of 30 hectares of land was approved by the government on May 6.

Although the current administration maintains its pledge to stand at the forefront of tackling climate change and transition towards a decentralized system, several have expressed discontent over continued investment in centralized and environmentally destructive projects.