Housing Minister Dr Ali Haidar has confirmed on Monday that the new administration will not cancel the land plots granted by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's administration under the Binveriya Project, but added that there is a chance that the location of the land plots may need to be changed.
The Minister said that although the previous administration had issued land from Hulhumale' Phase 3, Gulhi Falhu and Giraavaru Falhu, some of this land does not even exist to date.
He said that the Maldives Land Act stipulates that land can only be allocated from existing land areas, and not from areas that are still lagoons with plans of reclamation in the future. He said that this raises a question of the legality of the land registries that the past administration has issued, and would need further looking into.
Haidar also went on to say the past administration had issued plots without having a meaningful plan in place. He pointed out that land plots had been issued with no allocations for the establishment of fundamental services that an inhabited area would require.
He said that President Dr Mohamed Muizzu's administration has already compiled a strategic plan for the development of Hulhumale' Phase 3, Gulhi Falhu and Giraavaru Falhu, and that the work will progress under these new plans.
As this plan is implemented, there could arise a necessity to change locations of some of the land plots allocated under the Binveriya Scheme, according to the Minister. He assured that although the location changes, recipients will not see any difference in the size of the land plots.
"You must have seen the drawing depicting land plot allocations in Hulhumale' Phase 3, Gulhi Falhu and Giravaru Falhu. They have just drawn boxes. There is no provision for any land where other services can be provided, nor is there any empty lands for open spaces. Allocating land in this manner will present numerous challenges to those who ultimately live there. The current proposed structure is unacceptable even in the view of urban planning," the Minister criticized the existing Binveriya scheme plans.
The previous administration has issued 9001 land plots and land registrations under the first round of the Binveriya housing scheme. Land plots in areas where reclamation has been completed has already been issued to recipients. In those areas yet to be reclaimed, then government changed the regulations and offered land registries.
Haidar, who has even previously served as Housing Minister in former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's administration, reiterated that this government will not cancel any of the land plots allocated to persons by the past government.
However, flats allocated through the Gedhoruveriya scheme will undergo review. The government plans to seek legal advice regarding the flat allocations, which have currently been brought to a halt through an order of the Anti Corruption Commission.
In the run up to the presidential elections, President Dr Muizzu stated that he would not cancel any of the land plots or flats granted under Solih's administration.
However, in yesterday's press conference, Haidar said that the President's pledge is in regard to flats and land allocated before the completion of the first round of the presidential election.
"After winning the election, President Muizzu appealed to then administration to halt the granting of flats and lands. Therefore, we do not wish to honour any lands or flats granted after that period," Haidar said.
In the campaign, though, President Muizzu has said that he would not withdraw any land or flat allocations to citizens even if it was done with political intent by the past government.
"Whether it is land plots, flats, jobs other than political appointments, an increment to salaries, a loan they promised to grant, a project that is ongoing, or a project that has been interrupted, we will continue with all of this," Muizzu has said at the time.
"I will not take back anything that has been given," he said.