There were no queues and no information on Tuesday for the government’s “total solution” housing scheme, as applications opened for the mysterious and sudden project.
The Vilimalé 2 – or ‘Hiyaa Accomplished’ – project was announced by President Abdulla Yameen last month as a “total solution” to overcrowding in the capital, promising a “second city” that could house almost the entire Maldivian population.
No cost estimates, sources of finance, time-frame, categories or work schedule have been given for the ambitious plan, which has been revealed weeks before a presidential election.
No details about anything were available on Tuesday, not even how many people had taken application forms although a housing ministry spokesman said this figure would be revealed in a week.
Housing is a hot-button issue in the Maldives, where 39 percent of the country’s population is squeezed onto the capital island.
Thousands migrate to the capital in search of jobs, better education and healthcare, making Malé one of the world’s most densely populated cities.
Housing Minister Dr Mohamed Muizzu said the government would reclaim lagoons around the capital to provide about 82,000 flats and plots of land.
The government is already planning to resettle more than 100,000 people in a development on Hulhumalé. More than 40,000 application forms for this project had been taken by the end of May.
The president’s announcement of a second massive housing project has been criticised on social media, with many opposing the consolidation of the entire population in the Greater Malé region.
The Maldivian population is presently dispersed across 186 islands.
The opposition has pointed to the government’s failure to complete any housing projects before the end of its five-year term.