President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has once again reiterated his sentiments that the flats developed under the Hiyaa Housing Project are not suitable for occupancy.
The Hiyaa flat project was initiated by former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom, and the project was nearing completion when the administration changed in 2018. After President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih began administration, he criticized the design and build of the apartments on multiple occasions, and has said time and time again that the apartments are not fit for occupancy.
Answering reporters' questions during a press conference held by the President's Office on Tuesday, President Solih said the expensive project was a waste of money and resources. The president said the flats do not have doors and remain un-tiled, and the cost of the pending work is not included within the project cost. Therefore, the completion of the pending work will incur additional expenses, said the president. Although the government initially intended to bring adequate changes, it has now been decided that the apartments will be handed over to its recipients as is.
"We intend to handover the flats to its recipients very soon. We do not want to hold on to the buildings. However, the apartments will not have doors or tiles," said the President.
While heavy criticism has been aimed at the government for delays in handing over the apartments, President Solih said the delays are due to several complaints filed regarding the recipients of the flats. The president said unforeseen delays were caused in assessing the recipient list due to COVID-19, and revealed that 90% of the work carried out to verify if the recipients are truly deserving is now complete.
President Solih said the towers may look pleasing to the eye from the outside, but revealed that the condition of the apartments in the building were less than suitable. He added that he was confident that 80% of the occupants who receive apartments would move out if they had other options.
Pointing out major design flaws, the president went on to say that at least 5,000 people will reside in each tower block, which has only three elevators to cater to all 5,000 residents. He questioned how the residents of the building could go to work or school on time with such difficult arrangements.
President Solih further responded to the opposition's claim that the flats could be rented for MVR 7,000 a month. He pointed out that the flats in its current state would cost MVR 11,000 a month, and repeated that the project is not feasible.