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It is a project between India and the Maldives which is the result of bilateral consultation between the two countries. The contract has been signed by an Indian Company (Mumbai-based), AFCONS. This will be the largest-ever infrastructure project in Maldives which is known as the Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP).
Key points of the Project:
Fig 1: Islands of the Maldives to be connected
Construction of the Project:
The project will connect Hulhumale, Hulhule and, Male with the proposed Gulhifalhu Port and the Thilafushi industrial zone. The new bridge will include three navigation bridges of 140 meters main span across very deep channels between the four islands, a 1.41km marine viaduct in deep waters, a 2.32 km marine viaduct in shallow waters and land, and a 2.96 km at grade roads. The construction will be completed in 32 months.
The Maldives Government has decided to shift Male port to Gulhifalhu island because the current Male port has already reached its maximum physical capacity. So this has raised the need for seamless connectivity with link bridges to the three industrial islands. Transport has become the major challenge for residents who have to take boats or seaplanes to distant islands. Locals generally take ferries or boats. It became more difficult during monsoons when seas are rough. Construction of the bridges will ease the process.
Fig 2: The connection between three islands of the Maldives as per project
Significance of the Project:
As this project has been undertaken at the request of Maldives president Ibrahim Solih and foreign minister Abdulla Shahid during the visit of Union external minister Dr. S Jaishankar, it will act as a symbol of the India-Maldives partnership. The GMCP project is a direct result of India’s “Neighborhood First” policy. The Greater Male Connectivity Project will be concrete proof that India is a robust development partner of Maldives in addition to being the First Responder in times of any emergency in the Maldives.
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