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Minister Athifa: 'Hiyaa' flats reduced to 3,588

05 March 2019, MVT 20:36
Minister Athifa addressing the parliament. PHOTO: PARLIAMENT
05 March 2019, MVT 20:36

Minister of Housing and Urban Development Aminath Athifa assured that although the structure of the Hiyaa flats has caused for flats to be reduced to from 7,000 to 3,588, all applicants will be allocated housing.

During former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s administration, Housing Development Corporation Ltd (HDC), on July 20, 2016, awarded the project to China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd (CSCEC). Construction for the project began on December 29, 2017.

“Although the amount of flats available has decreased, all eligible applicants will receive housing under the Social Housing Programme,” said Minister Athifa. “If we are to allocate five people per flat, this is 34,400 people.”

According to the minister, there is insufficient infrastructure such as lifts for such a large population. She stated that the structure of flats had to be changed as they do not accommodate the needs of an average Maldivian family.

Minister Athifa revealed that President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s administration plans to build 1,104 two-room apartments and 2,484 three-room apartments. This is because the government wishes to provide families with proper living conditions.

She went on to state that discussions are underway with a contractor to build three-room flats instead of two-room flats for 2,500 flats that have not yet been built.

In answer to a question posed by a parliament member, Minister Athifa declared that there were to be 6,880 flats of 550 square feet each, consisting of two bedrooms in the 16 towers to have 25 storeys.

HDC signed several contracts with numerous companies in 2017, to provide their staff with housing.

However, the firms that signed the contracts do not have sufficient funds to carry out these projects. She also stated that most companies planned to fund the project by sub-contracting with foreign companies and drawing loans from banks abroad.

She also mentioned that they are working on putting all concerns to rest and justifying their actions.

Out of the 20,000 people who applied, those that met all required conditions have been gazetted and have received all necessary documents related to their housing. Some argue that the method used for distributing flats during the former president’s administration was unjust. Those who received flats during former president Yameen’s legislation were made public on Monday.