Economic Minster Fayyaz Ismail states the delay in start of the work on the Male’-Thilafushi bridge is due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,
Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail, on Tuesday, attributed the delay in the Male’-Thilafushi bridge to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and said that work on the bridge will begin within the next two weeks.
Fayyaz told Sun on Tuesday afternoon that a contractor for the project has been selected, and has been approved by the Exim Bank of India.
He expects the contact will be signed within the next one-two weeks.
“Practical work will begin as soon as the contract is signed. What I mean by practical work is the arrangements needed for mobilization, designing and quota. I am unable to say when structural work will begin at this time,” he said.
Fayyaz said that though they are facing delays due to the pandemic, they are not too far behind the schedule.
“It’s a very long process. Tendering is done after Exim Bank prepares the documents, verifies the documents, obtains necessary approvals, and all that,” he said.
Fayyaz said that the tendering process itself takes a long time because potential contractors always ask for deadline extensions.
He said that extensions are usually granted when it comes to such mega projects, and that a similar extension was granted in the bridge project as well.
Fayyaz said the evaluation process was carried out at full speed.
“There may be minor delays in work. Because South Asians have been banned from traveling to Maldives due to COVID. We expect issues like this related to COVID. With the implementation of lockdowns, restrictions on travel and such, this may not get done at the speed we expected back in 2019. We expect to face such issues,” he said.
Fayyaz said that though they expect delays in import of equipment and material from overseas, they do not expect any significant delays.
Main components of the project are expected to be complete in 2023.
“We expect to see a lot of godown facilities in the commercial/industrial zones in the land which will be developed with the Gulhifalhu port. We therefore expect to offer more space for businesses there than what we currently allow for godowns in Male’,” said Fayyaz.
A bridge between the industrial island of Thilafushi and the Maldivian capital is part of the larger Greater Male’ Connectivity Project.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has previously stated that the project will be awarded to a contractor before the end of this June.