Basic services more important than Sinamale bridge, says opposition

Though the landmark Sinamale Bridge is important, providing basic services to the people is more important, opposition alliance presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih insisted Wednesday.

Speaking during a campaign visit to Shaviyani Atoll Feevah island, the veteran lawmaker said every government aims to fulfill the basic needs of the people.

According to Solih, every island he has visited so far during his campaign has echoed the dire need for basic services, justice and equal rights.

"If you want to develop a country first and foremost one must provide basic services for the people. That is development. You can build a bridge. That's also important. The China bridge may turn out to be useful. But we're talking about the inflated project cost. Also we need to ask ourselves, if we prioritize our needs, is the bridge the most important," Solih asked.

The bridge dubbed China-Maldives Friendship bridge before being renamed to Sinamale bridge was financed with USD126 million in grant aid and a concessionary loan from China along with USD12.6 million from the state budget.

The over water bridge will stretch out to 1.39 kilometers in length and 20 meters in width.