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Housing ministry and water company slapped with environmental fines

The fines were imposed over the unauthorised extraction and release of groundwater.



The Environment Protection Agency on Sunday fined the state-owned water utility and the housing ministry over unauthorised extraction and release of groundwater in Malé.

The Malé Water and Sewerage Company was fined MVR55,000 (US$3,500) for pumping out groundwater on July 11 to 16 from the Haveeree Hingun road in the capital.

The EPA’s monitoring showed the housing ministry had also pumped out groundwater on July 10 from the southwestern corner of its office compound on Ameenee Magu. The ministry was fined MVR50,000.

Both fines were imposed for failing to seek the EPA’s permission as required by regulations on groundwater extraction.

The MWSC and housing ministry were informed on Sunday and told to pay the fine within 30 days, an environment ministry media official said.

According to the environment ministry’s 2017 audit report released last week, the EPA is owed MVR37 million in unpaid fines.

The fines include MVR17 million owed for damage caused to the reef of Lhaviyani Komandoo by a tug boat and barge.

Some MVR20 million were not collected because of cases stuck at the appeal stage. Some cases appealed in 2009 remain stalled, the report noted.

A 2015 audit found the government was owed at least MVR45 million in unpaid fines for environmental damages.