President Abdulla Yameen on Sunday laid the foundation stone for a new power station in the capital’s suburb Hulhumalé.
According to the president’s office, the State Electricity Company will carry out the ‘Fifth Power Development Project’ with the help of Chinese contractor Dongfang Electric International Corporation.
It will be the largest project undertaken by STELCO to date.
“On completion, the new power plant will have the capacity to generate 50MW of power to Malé, Hulhulé and Hulhumalé, via the Maldives-China Friendship bridge,” the president’s office said.
According to the ministry of environment and energy, the project involves the construction of a power-generation facility, a fuel farm, and a water desalination plant.
The power station will have six units of 9MW diesel engines and the desalination plant will use waste engine heat to produce water.
The estimated duration of the project is 26 months.
Developing a ‘Youth City’ in the reclaimed artificial island is a key campaign pledge of Yameen, whose administration plans to relocate and settle 70 percent of the Maldives’ 338,000-strong population in Hulhumalé.
Some 38 percent of the population resides in the congested capital.
The rest are scattered across more than 180 islands. According to the 2014 census, only four islands have a population exceeding 5,000 and only 20 islands have more than 2,000 people.
Work is underway on a bridge to connect the capital with Hulhumalé.
The Housing Development Corporation, a 100 percent state-owned enterprise tasked with the urban development of Hulhumalé, has meanwhile signed several contracts with private contractors over the past two months for commercial housing projects.
Vice President Abdulla Jihad attended a function Monday night to inaugurate the ‘Apollo Towers’ housing project.
HDC had signed an agreement in June with local contractor Apollo Holding to develop 97 mixed-use residential units in the Hulhumalé waterfront.
Speaking at last night’s function, Jihad said the China-Maldives Friendship bridge once completed would encourage more private contractors to build housing units in the new city.
He added that the government hopes all the housing projects currently underway would be complete by 2018.
“The Maldivian people will live very happily then, joyously, with shelter for everyone,” he said.
He also urged Apollo Holding to allow the 20 percent down-payment for its flats to be paid in instalments.
According to newspaper Mihaaru, Apollo Holding is charging an MVR50,000 (US$3,242) booking fee. The price of a flat is between MVR1.1 million (US$71,300) and MVR7 million (US$453,955).
The company is offering semi-deluxe, luxury, and penthouse apartments. Construction of the two-tower apartment complex is expected to be completed in 2018.
HDC has also signed agreements for the construction of mixed-use residential units with Ensis Fisheries, Renaatus Projects, Damas Company, and Batch Construction.
In early 2015, some 240 hectares of land were reclaimed under phase two of the Hulhumalé urban development project, adding to the 188 hectares reclaimed in 2002.
According to the government, 30 percent of the newly reclaimed land is to be allocated for social housing. The residential areas will be developed into neighbourhoods, which will consist of a mix of social and high-end housing.
In April this year, the government signed contracts with five foreign companies to build 15,000 social housing units by 2018.
The government expects to provide housing for a population between 150,000 to 187,000 in Hulhumalé phase two.
A contract was also signed last November with the China Machinery Engineering Corporation for the construction of 1,500 medium-end housing units.
CMEC had also built 1,000 units in Hulhumalé under phase one.
The housing ministry meanwhile caused a public outcry last April after some 300 families awarded flats under an affordable housing scheme were asked to pay MVR2 million (US$129,701) in five years.
The ministry told successful applicants that the pricing of flats in Gaakoshi and Arabiyya “do not fit the category of social housing,” blaming the price hike on delays in construction and claiming that the Indian developer was demanding full payment before transferring the flats to the government.
The People’s Majlis meanwhile amended the Pension Act in April to allow members of the Maldives Retirement Pension Scheme to collateralise their savings in home ownership programmes.