The ministry of housing and infrastructure signed a contract with the China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) today for the construction of 1,500 medium-end housing units in the capital’s suburb Hulhumalé.
“Work on these housing units will begin next year and people can live there by April 2018,” Housing Minister Dr Mohamed Muiz said at today’s contract signing ceremony.
The housing ministry did not reveal the cost of the project.
Shi Jintao, CMEC’s general manager, signed the contract on behalf of the company. CMEC had also built 1,000 units in Hulhumalé under phase one.
Last month, CMEC was also awarded a project for the installation of 1.5 megawatts of solar photovoltaic systems in Hulhumalé.
The new housing units will be built in land reclaimed earlier this year.
Some 240 hectares of land were reclaimed in the artificial island under phase two of the Hulhumalé urban development project, adding to the 188 hectares reclaimed in 2002.
Muiz said that the government is planning to build 1,700 medium-end housing units in Hulhumalé phase two. The cabinet’s economic council is in the process of evaluating proposals from interested companies, he added.
In September, the government invited proposals for 7,120 social housing units and 3,000 medium-end housing units in Hulhumalé.
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.
The government expects to provide housing for a population between 150,000 to 187,000 on the newly reclaimed area. Between 46,000 and 57,000 people will be housed in public housing.
Muiz said today that the entire population of small islands will have the opportunity to move to the new flats.
Developing a ‘Youth City’ in Hulhumalé is a key campaign pledge of President Abdulla Yameen.
In January, Yameen said the government hopes to increase Hulhumalé’s population to 220,000 and urged residents of islands with small populations to migrate to the new city.
According to the 2014 census, the population of the Maldives stands at 338,434 people, of which 38 percent reside in Malé and the rest are scattered across more than 180 islands.
Muiz also noted that the Housing Development Corporation – a 100 percent state-owned enterprise tasked with the urban development of Hulhumalé – has signed contracts for seawall and road construction in the reclaimed area.
The government is also planning to build a bridge connecting Malé and Hulhumalé with assistance from the Chinese government.
Delegates from the housing ministry departed for China last night for the official bid opening for the ‘China-Maldives Friendship Bridge,’ due to take place tomorrow.
At a ceremony held yesterday, the Maldivian and Chinese governments signed a letter of exchange for the implementation phase of the US$300 million bridge project.
In June, the Chinese government pledged to provide US$100 million as free grant aid to finance the construction of the bridge.
The Chinese government also agreed to provide a US$170 million loan at an interest rate of two percent. The remaining US$30 million will be spent from the Maldivian state budget.
Muiz said yesterday that the government expects construction work to begin by the end of the year.