Ministry of Housing and Infrastucture signed an agreement with Maldives Correctional Service (MCS) on Thursday to contract 140 inmates to work on the ongoing Male Ring Road project.
The agreement was signed by Housing Minister Dr. Mohamed Muizzu and MCS' Commissioner Ahmed Shihan.
The Male Ring Road project is to revamp and tar the capital's perimeter road Boduthakurufaanu Magu, in order to ease traffic flow on and off the bridge being constructed between Male City and airport island Hulhule. Under the project, the eastern and southern sections of Boduthakurufaanu Magu will be expanded to 16 metres, comprising of four lanes.
The housing ministry's Executive Coordinator Abdulla Shareef stated that inmates were being contracted to work on the Male Ring Road project under the "Ahuluveri Program", which aims to coach them into a working environment before their reintegration into society.
"The objective of getting [inmates] out there is to familiarise them with work under the government's policy, and get them back amongst society. Besides that, it would also speed up work on the project."
According to Shareef, each inmate would be granted a daily allowance of MVR 80, and they would be contracted to work until the end of the ring road project.
About 20 convicts had been contracted to work on the same project earlier this month as well.
Regarding the revamping of Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Shareef stated that it would be completed by the time the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge is ready to be unveiled.
"The pavements are finished for the most part," he said, adding that work would commence to remove the bricks on the road over the next two or three days. Afterwards, the road would be leveled out and tarred.
"Everything we need for the road work has already been brought to Male. Everything is proceeding according to schedule."
The government plans to unveil the finished bridge on July 26, the Independence Day of the Maldives.
The China-Maldives Friendship Bridge between Male and Hulhule is one of the most ambitious infrastructural projects undertaken by the current administration. It is estimated to cost USD 200 million, out of which USD 116 million was provided as free aid and USD 72 million as a loan by China. The Maldivian government is bearing USD 12 million of the project cost.