The government on Wednesday disclosed details of "Villimale 2", the mega housing project first announced by President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom during his address to celebrate Maldives' 53rd Independence Day on July 26.
The president at the time had declared that Villimale 2 would be developed to accommodate a population of 315,000.
The government shared details of the project on Wednesday, announcing that the opportunity to apply for flats and land plots will be open to the public next week.
According to Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, under the Villimale 2 project named "Emmennah Hiyaa Kashavaru":
- 230 hectares will reclaimed at Gulhifalhu
- 800 hectares will be reclaimed from Fushidhiggaru lagoon
- Male City, Villimale, Thilafushi, Gulhifalhu and the land reclaimed from Fushidhiggaru will be connected via bridges
- 82,000 flats and land plots will be put up for purchase
- The flats and land plots will measure 1,000 square feet
"We shall begin to issue forms from August 7 onwards," stated the minister, assuring that reclamation and development of flats will commence soon.
Interested applicants must be over the age of 18, without any land plots of 1,000 square feet registered under their own names, to be eligible to receive flats or land from Villimale 2.
However, Dr. Muizzu noted that applications will not be accepted from anyone that has already applied for Hulhumale's 7,000 flats project, unless they withdrew their Hulhumale application first.
While the government is looking to reclaim Gulhifalhu and Fushidhiggaru lagoon, the latter was steeped in controversy a few years ago.
Measuring 1,475 hectares in total, approximately four times the area of Male City, Fushidhiggaru lagoon was leased for resort development to a foreign firm for 50 years during the regime of former President Mohamed Waheed. However the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in 2014 had accused the transaction of involving graft, and interrogated arrested former Vice President Ahmed Adheeb regarding the issue.
After the graft case, Fushidhiggaru was taken back by the state and the current administration, in 2015, had also announced to put the lagoon up for sale for USD 72.6 million (MVR 1.1 billion).