Minister of Construction and Infrastructure Dr. Abdulla Muththalib has promised to give priority for the development of the reclaimed portions of Gulhi Falhu (lagoon) and Giraavaru Falhu, despite top priority being focused on the reclamation of Fushidhiggaru Falhu for large-scale housing solution.
President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu earlier revealed plans for Fushidhiggaru development; which he aspires would become a large settlement similar to Hulhumale'.
While the outgoing government had reclaimed portions of Gulhifalhu and Giraavaru lagoon with plans of developing them into cities, and the subsequent allocation of plots to social housing schemes' eligible recipients, the current government has included the reclamation of Fushidhiggaru Falhu in its first 100-day plan as the main priority towards resolving the housing crisis.
In his interview to Mihaaru News, the Infrastructure Minister emphasized the current government's priority of developing the roads, installation of water and sewerage systems, and provision of basic necessities to the reclaimed lands of Giraavaru Falhu and Gulhifalhu.
He further highlighted that since the land reclamation of Gulhifalhu is scheduled for completion in October, the subsequent development projects on the island can proceed only after the reclamation concludes.
"We have to plan to launch the project in 2025, and since we lacked sufficient time to complete the budget for next year, we could not plan for all the initiatives," the minister said.
The following year's state budget does not include an allocation for the urbanization initiatives of Giraavaru Falhu and Gulhi Falhu.
Although the outgoing government planned to develop a port in Gulhi Falhu, President Muizzu has considered relocation of the port to Thilafushi instead, according to the minister. He added that with this, the current plan for Gulhi Falhu would get notably altered as well.
While the outgoing government's efforts for Giraavaru Falhu was apace, the minister stressed additional time would be required to complete shore protection and other developmental aspects.
The Infrastructure Minister further highlighted that Gulhifalhu and Giraavaru Falhu need to be connected via a bridge superstructure, comparatively longer than the bridge connecting Male'-Vilimale'.
The minister added that the former government did not make any plans to address the initiative.
"Even though lands have been allocated to the people, water and sanitation, electricity, road development and the bridge connection linking Giraavaru to Gulhifalhu are all necessary and expensive endeavors. But since plots from the islands have already been allocated, we are required to attend to these components," the minister added.
"Despite the projects being excluded from the 100-day plan, they will be given equivalent prioritization with necessary fund acquisition and management for the initiatives."
The minister explained that the Fushidhiggaru urbanization initiative is a 20-year plan of the current government; with the aim of developing a neighboring city geographically separated from Male' City. He added that the city would provide all basic services and urban facilities for the public without the need to travel to Male' City for services.
"The government's first 100-day plan includes the launch of this project's physical works, which currently is in the planning stage. Works are currently underway at the President's Office to plan for fund acquisition and planning for the project," Muththalib said.
The current government has included MVR 400 million in the 2024 state budget for the reclamation of Fushidhiggaru. President Dr. Muizzu revealed the project would provide "total solution" to the housing crisis faced by Male' City.
He further promised the government would award housing units and land plots from Fushidhiggaru as well.