The Chinese embassy has donated MVR7 million (US$454,000) to develop seven pedestrianised roads in Malé and a children’s park in the capital’s suburb Vilimalé.
Chinese Ambassador Wang Fukang handed over the grant aid to the housing ministry at a ceremony on Sunday.
Housing Minister Dr Mohamed Muiz said the funds will be used to develop the narrow lanes closed to traffic earlier this year with benches, plants, and sports facilities.
Muiz said the “streetscaping” will be completed in six months using workers from the ministry’s public works division. Residents of the neighbourhoods were consulted during the design process, he added.
The ministry’s employees will also develop the Vilimalé children park with playgrounds and a semi-circle terrazzo floor with lighting.
Muiz said more narrow roads in Malé could be closed to traffic if residents apply to the ministry.
Parks and pedestrianised zones in the congested capital are part of the ongoing Malé redevelopment project. Repair work on the capital city’s main roads is underway with the housing ministry promising a more efficient storm water drainage system, fire hydrants, new pavement blocks and access for the disabled on rebuilt streets.
In late October, President Abdulla Yameen opened three new parks developed by the ministry in collaboration with the state-owned Island Aviation as part of its corporate social responsibility programme.
The Chinese ambassador said at Sunday’s ceremony that both residents and tourists will benefit from the government’s efforts to beautify the capital city.
Since assuming power in November 2013, President Abdulla Yameen’s administration has fostered a close partnership with China, securing loans and grant aid for large-scale infrastructure projects such as the flagship China-Maldives Friendship bridge.