The set of buildings currently being built for free by the Indian government on the land of Hithadhoo, Addu City, has risen several questions among the local people. After-all, what is the purpose of these buildings?
While there are thousands of opinions regarding the aforementioned question, one of the most highlighted statement is of the opposition people. According to their perception, the buildings are something that would take away the freedom of Maldivians. They say that it is a military base being built for the Indian government to overpower Maldives, that it would be the main spot for it.
While a campaign in the name of “India Out” has been started by the opposition, various stories have also begin to build up, regarding the set of buildings and the purposes it would serve. Therefore, I hope to mention as much information about the buildings and the role of the governments in this project.
The start of “National College for Police and Law Enforcement Studies”
On September 26 of 2012, an MOU was signed between Maldives and India after the assistance of India was requested by the Maldivian government to build a National police academy in the country.
When the agreement to build these buildings worth of MVR 282 million was made, the head of the Maldivian government was Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan and the Minister of Home was a former vice president of Maldives and a supporter of the current “India Out” campaign, Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed.
After discussions with the Indian government, they decided to give the responsibility of designing, building and supervising this project to an S.O.E of their government, National Building Construction Company (N.B.C.C), and to establish the academy in Dhihfushimaadhoo of Lh. atoll.
Although funds and technical experts are provided by India under the MOU, it was the Maldivian governments responsibility to decide about certain things such as the facilities for the academy and to also provide work permit for the contractors, engineers and workers who arrive from India.
The site for this project was changed multiple times until in 2014, it was decided to be located on Hithadhoo island of southernmost Addu atoll. The President of Maldives was then Abdulla Yameen and the Home Minister was Umar Naseer.
When the total cost of the police acadamy was estimated during the presidency of Yameen, it went to over MVR 385 million. On June 2016, after the project was tendered, N.B.C.C decided to handover the construction work for the project to a contractor of their own. Not long after the site was given on December 2016, the Maldivian government approved all designs shown by the contractor on July 2017. Henceforth, the construction work began in Addu City.
While the estimated cost of the project rose further to MVR 508 million, several difficulties were met in the process of providing work permits for the talented workers and engineers during the years 2017 and 2018.
However, December 2018 onward, the construction works of the project went on smoothly, completing 80% of the work. Some of which are the structural works of the admin building, faculty and barracks for males, faculty and barracks for females, prayer room, swimming pool, gym, guesthouse and bungalows containing 3-4 rooms. The remaining work of Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing, (M.E.P) are currently ongoing in the site.
Up to date, this is the largest project India granted to Maldives. Once the construction work is completed and the buildings are usable, several generations of police will be able to receive education from this modern and State of the Art Academy. In addition to this, the academy is being built with housing facilities for over 300 police trainees and trainers resulting in the improvement of the Addu City economy.
It is foreseen that all the work of the project will be completed and handed to the Maldivian government by December 2020. After this, these buildings will be known as a National College for Police and Law Enforcement Studies, where Maldivian police officers get trained and educated to protect and serve their country.