In a significant development, the reclamation project for Fushidhiggaru lagoon, a flagship initiative of President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, is set to be awarded to Sri Lanka’s Capital Marine and Civil Construction Company (CMCCC). While the signing ceremony was scheduled for Tuesday night, details about the agreement and project specifics remain undisclosed by both Urbanco and the government.
Key information, such as the project’s cost, financing sources, and conditions for awarding it to CMCCC, has not been made public. The massive lagoon, located 16 km south of Male’, was a campaign promise by President Muizzu, with MVR 400 million earmarked in the next year’s budget to initiate the endeavor.
However, the budget committee of the Maldivian Democratic Party-majority (MDP) Parliament redirected the allocated MVR 400 million, opting for a re-allocation of MVR 200 million to develop infrastructure in reclaimed land in Gulhifalhu, Giraavaru, and Hulhumale’. The remaining MVR 200 million found its way into various other projects.
The government’s decision to award the Fushidhiggaru project follows its reluctance to officially comment on the budget changes. President Muizzu had earlier outlined a timeline of approximately 10 months for reclaiming the 1,280-hectare lagoon, emphasizing that investment for development would follow after constructing a revetment around the new island.
CMCCC, known for its expertise in both land reclamation and coastal protection, will play a pivotal role in the ambitious project. President Muizzu’s vision includes providing 65,000 plots for housing, with specific plans for 11,970 plots and 26,500 housing units from Fushidhiggaru. The strategy involves deploying some of the world’s largest dredgers for reclamation, ensuring a budget-friendly approach.
Despite the substantial investment, experts highlight challenges due to the deep and rough sea between the lagoon and Male’. The viability of constructing an overwater bridge connecting the capital with the artificial island remains uncertain. This decision to engage a foreign company comes amid suggestions by Adam Azim, former managing director of the Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC), proposing USD 100 million in budget savings by awarding the project to MTCC.