STELCO: Council cannot make road digging fee rule without LGA’s input

State Electric Company (STELCO) states it does not believe the Male’ City Council can create a regulation on charging a fee to dig up roads without the knowledge of the Local Government Authority (LGA).

In a meeting with relevant state authorities on Sunday, STELCO’s managing director Ahmed Shareef said the company was facing difficulties providing services in Male’ City.

Shareef said that while the city council claims the policy was made with reference to Article 152 of Decentralization Act, clauses in the Article stipulates that all regulations must be made after discussions with the LGA.

“LGA informs us the Male’ City Council did not engage in any discussions with them regarding this,” said Shareef.

Shareef said that the city council must discuss with relevant state authorities before making decisions that affect the public.

He said the road digging fee introduced by the city council was far too high, and expressed concern the council had begun charging fees for works that had previously been allowed to be conducted for free.

“They previously did not charge any fee for installation of wires after removing pavement blocks. But they have now decided to charge MVR 25 per foot. They have now decided to charge MVR 300 for installation of wires after removing the cap of cable junctions. They did not charge any fee for this before,” he said.

The city council has also raised additional fees. Whereas permits for closure of streets were previously issued for MVR 150, it now costs MVR 300.

STELCO had previously threatened to sue the city council over the issue, but later said it was ready for discussions.