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Plans scrapped to change design of Hiyaa flats

The size of a two-bedroom flat is 550 square feet.



The government has scrapped plans to change the design of 7,000 flats under construction Hulhumalé as part of the former administration’s Hiyaa social housing scheme.

In March, Housing Minister Aminath Athifa told parliament that the design would be revised to expand two-bedroom flats to three-bedroom flats. The 550-square feet two-bedroom flats were inadequate for families, she said.

Some 6,880 flats were to be built in 16 towers of 25 floors each in in the capital’s suburb, an artificial island connected to Malé via the Sinamalé bridge in September last year. An agreement was signed between the Housing Development Corporation – a state-owned company tasked with the urban development of the reclaimed land – and the China State Engineering Corporation in July 2016. Construction work began in December 2017.

The HDC previously estimated that changing the design would reduce the number of flats to 3,588. HDC managing director Suhail Ahmed told Mihaaru last week that the decision not to make changes was reached after consultations. Concerns included the lower number of units and the high cost of changing the design, he told the newspaper.

More than 22,000 people applied for the Hiyaa flats and 6,723 recipients who were chosen under 12 categories.

Lack of adequate housing has been a perennial crisis in the Maldives with nearly 40 percent of the country’s population crammed into the 2.2-square mile island of Malé. After decades of migration to the densely-packed capital, many families share a single room and most people pay exorbitant rents to live in slum-like conditions.

Under a separate component of the Hiyaa project, agreements were also signed between HDC and state-owned enterprises to build 14-storey apartment complexes for staff. But due to the failure to secure financing, construction work is ongoing for only eight out of 16 companies, the housing minister informed lawmakers in March.