India can’t build the bridge even in 20 years: Adhurey

President of People’s National Congress (PNC), Abdul Raheem Abdulla (Adhurey). | Photo: Avas.

Malé, Maldives – PNC President Abdul Raheem Abdullah (Adhurey) has said that the Thilamalé bridge will not be completed even in 20 years.

Speaking at an opposition booth rally yesterday, Adhurey said India does not know how to build bridges and we always hear that many people die when some bridge collapses in India. He also told that children will build bridges like those built by India. Thilamalé Bridge will not be available to the people even 20 years later, he said.

“India will not build the bridge in 20 years. They don’t know how to build bridges. They don’t know at all. Adhurey explained.

Adhurey said a bridge has been built in about three years during the last presidency but the pillar of the Thilamalé Bridge has not been erected in four years of this administration. He said the initial price for the bridge was USD 500 million, but later it was increased by USD 100 million and another USD 100 million was added to speed up the work.

“There is a USD 280 million bridge (Malé-Hulhumalé bridge) built in three years. So the USD 700 million bridge should be built in seven months. Then there is no problem.” Adhurey said.

The bridge construction project was awarded to AFCONS India, to be completed by in three phases. 

Phase I of the project linking Malé and Vilimalé will be complete by July 2023 and open to the public by 15 August 2023. Phase II will connect Vilimalé and Gulhifalhu and be complete by the end of 2023. Phase III linking Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi is expected to reach completion by November 2024.

Another AFCONS bridge construction project, the Addu City Hankede Bridge Project, suffered major damages due to monsoon sea swells earlier in July. 

The Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP) includes a 6.7 km bridge and causeway network connecting Male, Villingili, Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi and as per the current government this would be a national economic engine and lifeline connecting Hulhumale’, Hulhule’ and Male’ with the proposed Gulhifalhu Port and the Thilafushi Industrial Zone.

The project is being financed through a USD 400 million loan from EXIM Bank of India and with an additional USD 100 million grant from the Indian government. The agreement between EXIM Bank of India and the Maldivian government was signed on October 12, 2020. EXIM Bank informed that this loan would include a 5-year moratorium and a 20-year repayment period for the Maldivian government.

The new bridge includes three navigation bridges of 140 meter main span across the deep channel between each island, 1.41 km of marine viaduct in deep water, 2.32 km marine viaduct in shallow water or on land, and 2.96 km of at-grade roads. Bus terminals are also planned on each island near the junctions with the mainline and the project will use solar power for road lighting, navigation lighting, deck cell lighting, CCTV and lighting on sign gantry and architectural lighting.