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Three months since Vilimale' reef damage: no actions taken

Mohamed Rehan
10 November 2022, MVT 17:20
It has been three months since the geo-technical surveyor platform crashed into Vilimale' house reef causing massive damage to the corals; however, any action regarding the matter has yet to be taken-- Photo: Fayaz Moosa | Mihaaru
Mohamed Rehan
10 November 2022, MVT 17:20

It has been three months since a bridge development platform crashed into Vilimale' house reef causing severe damage to the rock formation in the area. Since then, there have been no talks of any action taken against the responsible party.

Meanwhile, the authorities responsible with monitoring and enforcing accountability have remained silent. Some of them have slowly diminished from the spotlight.

A geo-technical surveying platform crashed into the house reef earlier on August 16, 2022. The contractor of the 'Thilamale' bridge, India's Afcons removed the structure twelve days after the incident. By then, the damage to the area had become significant.

Assessments confirmed a near 10 feet ditch was created where the platform crashed.

Environment Protection Agency (EPA) rushed into survey the damaged zone. Parts of this report however, were not acknowledged by Afcons. The contractor demanded to conduct their own survey instead, and the opportunity was facilitated.

Following this, local media outlet "Mihaaru News" has attempted to get a comment from Afcons regarding their survey since previous week, but to no avail. As of now, whether the survey was completed or not remains yet to be attested.

Meanwhile, EPA has maintained its position claiming any relevant action will come only after Afcons concluded their survey. The contractor has already expended the week's period it was granted to conduct the survey, but it appears that Afcons has received time flexibility on the matter since no government authority has stepped in to question on the delays.

Earlier, EPA conducted their survey after the contractor removed several iron bars and rods, with some of them lodged into the rock formation, into the damaged zone. By then Afcons had already removed the structure from the island's house reef.

After concluding their report, EPA demanded a response from Afcons earlier on October 14.

Afcons claims EPA's survey has been grossly exaggerated, and they contested the claims made in the document with regards to damages caused on their part. While EPA invited Afcons to partake alongside the agency in their survey, the contractor declined asserting they had wished to conduct the survey with the experts or surveyors of their choosing instead.

This is not the only instance of concerns of issues have been mounted against the contractor. Local media reports there are several other incidents, all related to various projects carried by Afcons, that have been questioned for their conduct and certain discrepancies. Despite the issues however, the Maldives government has not formally inquired from the contractor about claims of misconduct, and neither has the state made any public statements about it.

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