A petition has been submitted to the Parliament, the Elections Commission (EC) and Local Government Authority (LGA) calling to separate Hulhudhoo and Meedhoo from under Addu City Council and to govern the two islands under their own island councils.
Chair of Hulhumeedhoo's petition organization committee Ahmed Shareef on Wednesday said the petition has been forwarded to the Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed, President of EC Ahmed Shareef, President of LGA and Home Minister Imran Abdulla as well as MPs represating Hulhudhoo and Meedhoo, Ilyas Labeeb and Rozaina Adam.
Shareef said the request is being made due to the large number of citizens from both islands who have expressed interest in establishing an island council of its own in both Hulhudhoo and Meedhoo, as per the spirit of the Decentralization Act.
When the Decentralization Act was first legislated, an island council was designated as a city if the population of the island exceeds 30,000 people. Atolls were given the status of a city in 2011 if the total population of all the islands in the atoll exceeded 30,000.
However, in 2014, amendments brought to the Decentralization Act said an island may be declared a city if its population exceeds 10,000. Fuvahmulah City of Gnaniyani atoll was designated as a city under the amendment, and Hdh. Kulhudhuffushi was recently declared a city on the first of January this year.
The petition noted that if Meedhoo and Hulhudhoo are separated from Addu City Council, the population of the remaining islands under the council would still exceed 10,000 according to the Decentralization Act. The population of Hithadhoo island, the biggest island of the southernmost atoll alone will meet the population requirement of 10,000, said the petition.
While Addu atoll consists of six inhabited islands, four of the islands are linked via causeways and a link road. They are Hithadhoo, Maradhoo, Maradhoo-Feydhoo and Feydhoo. Hulhudhoo and Meedhoo lie separate from the rest of the atoll, although the two islands are connected by land.