Government initiated largest housing or accommodation scheme; 'Hiyaa' became a promising project with multiple government corporations tied to it.
Several people, employed under government based corporations, became hopeful of moving out from their run-down apartments in the capital to lavishly designed abodes at the reclaimed suburb.
One such state owned company that tied to government's project was Male' Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC), with a promise of delivering approximately 360 apartments for its employees.
Assessments were made and evaluations went through with long-serving or multiple dependent employees receiving more points than those who had housing options or owned apartments in the capital.
The entire project from MWSC's end seemingly transcended into preliminary works smoothly. That was until the company had demanded an abrupt booking fee from the individuals who were shortlisted for flat-winners, if they wished to acquire the actual flat.
One of the employees who spoke with Avas Online cleared that the down-payment was also set at rates not affordable for most. According to the anonymous employee three room apartments required a down-payment of MVR300,000 and a two room apartment required MVR200,000.
However a booking fee is made mandatory on the employees to settle if they wish to 'guarantee' their apartment slots. Meaning the booking fee for three room apartments reached MVR110,000 and for two room apartments the amount reached MVR85,000.
Another employee from the company said the Human Resources department of MWSC had claimed the written statement from the company granting flats for those who do not settle booking fee will become void.
The employee also said that MWSC demands down-payment to be settled within the next three months.
"Our employees are gravely concerned about this, there are several from our department who were shortlisted as well. But most of them do not have the financial capability of settling such an amount as booking fee, that too before today. So far none from our department had paid their booking fees which means they will lose the apartments they've been shortlisted to," the unnamed MWSC worker said.
Employees were told they can attain financing through their pension funds however this was not arranged. Many are calling it a corporate oversight.
Since the apartments are still exclusively on paper without any physical sheltering constructed the employees cannot acquire bank loans as banks do not provide loan on assets that are 'non-existent.'
"How would this help the project to gain its actual purpose? I mean these flats can only be purchased by high-ranking officials of any given company, those with a lot of money on their hand. I mean these are the very people who can buy their own luxury apartment complexes built by private contractors at the suburbs already," the disgruntled employee spoke.
Another employee who has served the company for a decade shared his grievance as well. According to the MWSC worker, who lives with his family in Male' on rent, managing an amount of MVR110,000 within a short span of time is inconceivable.
Meanwhile several employees who are unhappy about the sudden turn of events have taken it up with the company's senior management.
However MWSC was unavailable to comment regarding this issue while the corporation's managing director Ibrahim Fazul Rasheed did not respond to Avas Online's inquiries.