Ministry of Planning has revealed that the Male'-Villimale component of the Thila-Male bridge will be completed by December 2023.
Speaking to a news outlet known for peddling government propaganda, an official from the Ministry of Planning stated that the work of the bridge is going on as scheduled and that the Male'-Villimale' component will be completed by December next year. However, in June this year, Maldivian journalists were taken to India at the cost of the Government of India and during a meeting held at Afcons head office, they announced that Male'' and villimale' would be connected by July next year and that in December, Villimale' will also be connected to Gulhifalhu.
Afcons stated that they needed USD 26 million to expedite the bridge development project. In June this year, they took USD 12 million which is half of that amount. However government later claimed that they have not paid any money to Afcons to expedite the process.
While the government claims that the work is being planned as per the schedule, it is clear from what is happening now that the project is not going as per schedule. In June, Afcons said they would soon develop a temporary bridge for work. However, the temporary bridge is yet to be seen. Instead, Afcons is trying to install buoys on test piles. The last time a crane sank during the process.
Earlier, President Solih had given various dates regarding the construction of the bridge. He said that by the beginning of 2021, the pillars of the bridge will rise above sea level. However, even two years later, there was only one test pile to see above the water. There are no permanent pillars in the sea.
India's Afcons has never built a bridge across the sea before. Some of the projects undertaken by the company in India have also been completed years later than the deadline.