Environment Ministry decides against cancelling Afcons’ MVR 69M fine

Wrecked bridge platform on Vilimale' reef. (Sun Photo/Naail Hussain)

Environment Ministry has decided against cancelling the MVR 69 million fine imposed on India’s Afcons Infrastructure for damages to the Vilimale’ reef.

Yuvraj, the self-elevating platform used by Afcons for the construction of the Thilamale’ Bridge wrecked on the Vilimale’ reef on August 16, 2022. It was refloated nearly two weeks later, on August 27, 2022.

A survey conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) showed the reef sustained massive damages in the incident, and resulted in four large craters forming on the reef.

The EPA fined Afcons by MVR 69 million in November 2022.

The company appealed the fine with Environment Ministry.

Following a review of the appeal, the Environment Ministry announced on Tuesday that it found no cause to amend the fine amount, as it found Afcons had the opportunity to have preventive measures.

The ministry also found the fine payment was crucial to EPA’s efforts to mitigate the damages to the reef.

It said that MVR 15 million from the fine payment will go to EPA’s Environment Restoration Fund.

EPA’s report shows the wrecking of Afcon’s platform resulted in damages to a 2,755 square meter area of the reef.