Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Mohamed Aslam has made headlines by stating that the Gulhifalhu reclamation project will continue on even if there is a negative impact on the environment due to the project. The project has been subjected to much criticism with allegations of bypassing state procedures on reclamation projects, has also become the subject of a parliament investigation with Villimale Constituency MP Ahmed Usham submitting a motion to the Parliament asking to launch an investigation into the damages to Villimale’ reef from the Gulhifalhu dredging process.
According to the authorities, the Gulhifalhu reclamation project dubbed “Gulhifalhu Ecocide” by environmentalists, will see the state’s main cargo port being transferred to the island from the capital city Male’. Speaking at the online committee meeting held by the parliaments committee on environment and climate change, Minister Aslam stated that “Like other reclamation projects there will be negative effects on the environment from this project but this is crucial for our economic growth”. The much debated project has also come under the limelight for alleged violations in Environmental Impact Assessment.
Minister Mohamed Aslam who represents the ruling party MDP within the coalition government served as the Environment minister under President Nasheed’s administration stated that as the Planning Minister it was his duty to locate and plan on exactly where to relocate the port and Male’ North harbor. The project awarded to the Royal Boskarlis in a closed bid worth $53 million has also been criticized by the opposition party alleging corruption and that had the state used its own dredger owned by SOE MTCC, the project would have easily been completed for under $28 million.