Independence 50 lights to remain in place till August 10

Independence 50 lights to remain in place till August 10
July 28 19:29 2015

Red, green, and white LED lights strung around Malé and other islands as part of the celebrations to mark the Maldives’ golden jubilee of independence will remain in place until August 10, deputy home minister Ahmed ‘Maaz’ Saleem has said.

Government buildings, trees, public parks, and communication towers in the capital and its suburbs were decorated with thousands of neon lights ahead of Independence Day (July 26).

Saleem – who is in charge of the ‘Independence 50’ office tasked with organising the celebratory activities – told Maldives Independent today that the lights will be kept in place for almost two weeks for public enjoyment.

The state broadcaster Television Maldives will hold a vote during the next three days to select the best LED light installation, Saleem added.

The winner will receive MVR 50,000 (US$3,242) while the second and third place winners will receive MVR25,000 (US$1,621) and MVR 10,000 (US$649), respectively.

Last week, the State Electricity Company (STELCO) warned that power shortages may affect plans to light up Malé for Independence Day after one of two main 8MW generators at the power plant suffered damage. The LED lights alone use 2.5 MW of electricity from the company’s grid.

However, STELCO spokesperson Ibrahim Rauf later told Maldives Independent that the comapny will be able to handle the high demand for electricity on July 26 without power cuts.

The government-owned electricity provider in the atolls, Fenaka Corporation, transferred two 2MW engines to Malé from Addu City for temporary use during the independence day celebrations. There have been no power cuts reported in the capital since a nine-hour disruption last week caused by a switch gear failure.

Independence Day celebrations meanwhile continued yesterday with a children’s evening and a three-hour vehicle ban.

President Abdulla Yameen and First Lady Fathmath Ibrahim opened a ‘LED Garden’ at the Sultan Park last night. The ‘Hulhudhaan’ exhibit features several artificial trees lit up with bright neon lights in the national colours of red, green and white.

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Speaking at the opening ceremony last night, home minister Umar Naseer said that the garden was assembled within just 48 hours by the Maldives Customs Service.

Several state-owned companies have completed large scale projects for the golden jubilee celebrations as corporate social responsibility (CSR) components, including a brand new musical water fountain at the renovated Republic Square donated by the Maldives Transportation and Construction Company (MTCC).

The transport authority meanwhile announced today that pedestrian hours for tonight have been reduced from 6:00pm to 10:00pm to 6:00pm to 8:30pm.

A float parade is due to take place in the capital tonight, starting at Malé’s western end and ending at the Usfasgandu area. The parade will pass through the main thoroughfare Majeedhee Magu and the outer ring road.

Saleem said the floats will be kept at the Usfasgandu area as a play ground for children.

Saleem also noted that a fireworks display originally scheduled for tonight has been postponed for Friday. Official games at the national stadium, featuring a three-hour play and a skydiving event, will take place on Friday night.

The police meanwhile began removing parked vehicles this afternoon from the route designated for the float parade. A police media official told Maldives Independent that the vehicles have been transferred to the nearest parking zone.

The official urged owners to contact the police hotline at 9790121 to locate their vehicles.

According to the finance ministry, a budget of MVR150million (US$9.7million) has been allocated for Independence Day celebrations. The anti-corruption commission has been investigating complaints related to the home ministry’s use of the funds.