Govt. denies allegation Dhapparu is to be an Indian settlement

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) is conferred the Order of the Distinguished Rule of Izzuddin by Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on June 8, 2019. (Photo/President's Office)

The Maldivian government, on Sunday, denied allegations made in a report published by a local news outlet stating that the proposed second home project in H. A. Dhapparu is an attempt by neighboring India to have colonial settlements in Maldives.

President’s Spokesperson Ibrahim Hood responded to the article stating that the Maldivian government has never entertained the idea of settling foreigners in any Maldivian region.

“And never will,” he said.

In a meeting with the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Relations Committee regarding a proposed amendment to Immigration Act last week, Economic Development Minister Fayyaz Ismail stated that the government is considering launching a pilot second home project in H. A. Dhapparu, to allow foreigners who lease apartments and villas built on the island for a long period to be granted residency visa.

He stressed that it does not entail selling the properties to foreigners, and that they will not be granted citizenship.

A local news outlet published a report on the proposed second home project on Sunday, which alleges that India is pressuring the Maldivian government to run the project, and that it poses a threat to the independence and sovereignty of the country.

Spokesperson Hood said that the second home project is an idea still in incubation, and that no contractors or funding sources have been finalized for the project.

“Foreigners for us would refer to anyone from the 192 or so sovereign nations not just Indians. Your article lied saying it’s an Indian attempt to colonize Maldives. Which is not true,” he said.

Maavashu MP and National Security and Foreign Relations Committee member Mohamed Saeed, who had served as the Economic Development Minister during the previous administration, responded to Fayyaz’s announcement regarding the second home project stating that such a project will likely attract a large number of Indian investors, especially in light of the planned ferry transport network project between India and Kulhdhuffushi City.

Saeed said the project will likely also attract investors from Europe and China, and that the strategic location of Maldives and the demand for properties in Maldives is reason to create suspicion and skepticism among Maldivians.

Fayyaz had responded that the project isn’t for a specific nationality, but will be run along the same line as tourist resort concept.

He responded to the article published on Sunday, stating that there is no truth to the allegations on the article other than that the Economic Development Ministry plans to run a pilot project.

“The utter false allegations/insinuations in this article especially on independence day against the gov and our neighbor warrants an exposure to the public,” said Fayyaz. “I will submit to the relevant institutions and Majlis to investigate the truth or falsehood of this.”