Launching one of the largest infrastructure and connectivity projects in northern Maldives, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) commenced work on the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the Hanimaadhoo International Airport expansion project. A high-level delegation from the AAI visited the Maldives this week. The team met with Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail and senior officials from Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation (MoTCA), and also visited Hanimaadhoo for initial surveys and assessments. The team also met with Members of Parliament (Majlis) from northern Maldives to exchange views on the project.
2. Upon the request of the Government of Maldives, the Government of India has decided to support the Hanimaadhoo International Airport expansion project under the USD 800 million Line of Credit from EXIM Bank of India. The Detailed Project Report (DPR) will be prepared by AAI in 2 months. Thereafter, the EXIM Bank of India and MoED will jointly prepare tender documents for the project to select the EPC contractor. The final tendering for the project will be undertaken by the Government of Maldives. Work is expected to commence on the project early next year.
3. Transparency and partnership are cornerstone principles of Indian Line of Credit projects. The terms and conditions of the Line of Credit are available in public domain. The tendering process is open, and undertaken through joint consultations between EXIM bank of India and the Government of Maldives. Final tendering is undertaken by the Government of Maldives to ensure that the actual cost of the project is competitive. The projects will be implemented through partnerships between selected Indian companies with required experience and local companies as stipulated by EXIM Bank of India guidelines. Capacity building of local companies and officials will be a priority even while the project is being implemented to assure sustainability.
4. Presently, seven mega infrastructure projects are being undertaken under the USD 800 million Line of Credit from India. These include (i) Water and Sewerage network for 34 islands, (ii) Addu Roads and Reclamation project, (iii) Gulhifalhu Port, (iv) expansion of facilities of MIFCO, (v) Cricket Stadium in Hulhumale, (vi) Hanimaadhoo International Airport expansion and (vii) Cancer Hospital in Hulhumale. Another Line of Credit of USD 400 million and a grant of USD 100 million has been extended for the Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP) – the bridge and causeway network that will link Male to Vilingili, Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi. Five of these mega infrastructure projects are expected to commence by Nov-Dec 2020.
5. The Hanimaadhoo International Airport project includes the extension of the runway to 2200 metres (to allow A320s, Boeing 737s to land), and, the upgrade of terminals, fuel farms, cargo terminal, fire station, etc. The project will be the major engine of future development of northern Maldives and will encourage local and foreign investment in tourism, infrastructure, fisheries and other sectors. It will support the creation of 8000 beds for tourists in northern Maldives, as envisioned by the Government of President Ibu Solih. The cargo ferry service that was launched yesterday, and the Hanimaadhoo International Airport expansion project are the twin initiatives of connectivity supported by India, to usher in an era of prosperity for northern Maldives. The commencement of work on the Hanimaadhoo International Airport expansion project is another example of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ and the Maldives’ ‘India First’ policies under the leadership of PM Modi and President Ibu Solih working in tandem for mutual benefit.