Wednesday 24th Jul 2024
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Government Admits Delay in Thilamaale Bridge Construction

The Maldivian government has acknowledged that the construction of the Thilamaale Bridge, which aims to connect Villimale, Thilafushi, Gulheefalhu, and Male, is not progressing as planned. The project, initially scheduled for completion in May of next year, has faced significant delays, despite previous assurances from the government that it was on track.
The agreement for the Thilamaale Bridge project was signed in 2021 between AFCONS Infrastructure Limited of India and the Maldivian government. However, recent revelations suggest that the construction work is not advancing at a reasonable pace. When questioned by Maafannu Central MP Ibrahim Rashid (Bonde), Planning Minister Mohammed Aslam conceded that there were indeed delays in the project's execution.
Bonde, expressing concerns over the lack of visible progress on the bridge, sought clarification on the extent of completion. Minister Aslam stated that no further time extensions had been granted within the contract and admitted that progress had not met the expected pace according to the contractor's work schedule. However, he did mention that efforts would be made to catch up on the delayed work to some extent, without providing specific details.
Initially planned to connect Male and Vilimale, the Thilamaale Bridge was expected to be linked to Thilafushi by May 2024, according to previous government announcements. Minister Aslam reiterated that no time extension was intended to be granted, emphasizing that the contractual period remained unchanged. He further emphasized that the bridge would not be constructed on a temporary platform, like the Sinamale Bridge, and stated that the currently erected pillars are the final pillars of the bridge.
Minister Aslam acknowledged the sluggish progress on the bridge construction but affirmed that work was ongoing. Despite concerns raised by some regarding the quality of the bridge, especially considering AFCONS' lack of prior experience in constructing sea bridges, Aslam had previously dismissed such allegations that AFCONS was doing work of poor quality.
The Thilamaale Bridge project is being implemented with the assistance of a $100 million grant from India and a $400 million line of credit from India's EXIM bank. The concerns over the bridge's construction remain significant, given AFCONS' lack of experience in undertaking similar projects.