Tuesday 5th Jul 2022
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Thila-Male' bridge

Thila-Male Project Contract Classified

The Ministry of Planning has stated that the agreement to link Malé, Vilimalé, Thilafushi, and Gulheefalhu with a bridge (the so-called “Thila-Malé Bridge”) was classified.
The Maldivian government had contracted Afcons Instructure, an Indian company, to develop the bridge. The Maldives Journal had requested a copy of the contract from the Ministry of National Planning, Housing and Infrastructure through the Right To Information Act. The Ministry responded that the information could not be provided as the entirety of the contract was classified.
A USD400 million loan from India has been arranged to pay for the 6.7 kilometer bridge and causeway link.
While the government had agreed to classify the Thila-Malé Bridge agreement with Afcons, previous agreements made between the Maldivian government and Indian companies have been extremely detrimental to the Maldives. Examples are the agreements made by the last MDP government with the GMR Group; an Indian conglomerate that had been contracted to take over the Maldives’ main international airport at the time; and the TATA Group; another Indian conglomerate that had been contracted to develop social housing flats at an unreasonably high cost.
Afcons has spent 17 years building a bridge in India, the project remains unfinished; Afcons has no prior experience in developing bridges that cross the ocean.
Afcons has delayed initiation of the Thila-Malé Bridge project by several months, and no significant work has been done towards development of the bridge. At the last press conference, President Solih had stated that work on the bridge was unlikely to be completed before the end of his term. However, he had said, the bridge would be opened up incrementally.
Afcons Infrastructure has been awarded several projects since Narendra Modi had been elected as Prime Minister of India. Afcons has been contracted with developing several Indian military projects in Mauritius.
Afcons is a benefactor of the BJP, India’s ruling party.