'Will take three months to relocate chemical warehouses'

Planning Minister Mohamed Aslam has stated that it would take over three months to relocate all chemical warehouses in Male' city away from residential areas.

The minister's statement comes after a massive fire broke out at a warehouse in capital Male', which torched down three additional warehouses in the area and six homes. While the fire claimed the life of one, the government has announced its swift decision to relocate chemical warehouse away from residential areas.

Minister Aslam said the industrial village that the former administration began developing is not suitable to store chemicals and conduct industrial works at. Several difficulties will be caused if an industrial zone is established at the site, said the minister.

Noting that the traffic on the outer ring road of the capital city will be affected, Aslam said it would cause congestion on the roads. The Japanese company that worked on the water break of the area had declared that an adequate harbor cannot be constructed in the area for easy entry of boats at the zone, and deemed it to be an unsuitable location to establish an industrial village at, he added.

Although Minister Aslam announced that the warehouses can be relocated within three months, he did not reveal where the warehouses will be shifted to. However, he hinted that the warehouses may be moved to the industrial zones that are being developed at Hulhumale' Phase II.

While the time period during which the former government began work on the industrial village coincided with the conclusion of the Sinamale' bridge project, Aslam said he did not understand the need to develop an industrial zone in Male' at such a high cost while industrial zones were included in the plans for Hulhumale Phase Two.

Speaking on the congestion in Male' city, the minister estimated that it would take 10-15 years for the atolls to be developed enough to ease the congestion on the capital. This can only be achieved through a long term plan that remains uninterrupted with changes in government, he said.

Aslam added that the development of the atolls would not lessen the population residing in capital Male', noting that it is the norm in the rest of the world for people to move to the capital city, while only few move to other locations from the capital.