India signs Line of Credit pact with Maldives for financing major connectivity project

NEW DELHI: A team from the EXIM Bank of India is visiting the Maldives to sign a Line of Credit Agreement for $ 400 million, for funding the Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP). India has also committed a $ 100 million grant for the project.

The GMCP is a key pledge of the Government of President Ibu Solih to the Maldivian people. India’s support for the project was announced during the virtual meeting between External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid on August 13. It is also the single-largest connectivity and infrastructure project in the Maldives.

The EXIM Bank of India team comprising Nirmit Ved, General Manager and Harish Kumar, Chief Manager signed the agreement with the Ministry of Finance, Government of Maldives on Monday. The team is also holding discussions with key Ministries and agencies – Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Planning, Infrastructure and Housing, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Hulhumale Development Corporation (HDC) – of Maldives involved in the implementation of the Line of Credit projects.

The discussions will assess progress on the implementation of 7 other mega infrastructure projects funded by the earlier $800 million Line of Credit. These 7 projects include:

  • Development of an international port at Gulhifalhu;
  • Establishment of water supply and sewerage networks across 34 islands spanning 16 atolls;
  • Development of roads and storm water drainage along with reclamation works in Addu atoll in southern Maldives;
  • Establishment of a Cancer Hospital in Hulhumale;
  • Expansion of the Hanimaadhoo Airport in northern Maldives;
  • Construction of a Cricket Stadium in Hulhumale;
  • Expansion of facilities for the Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company.

The GMCP is a 6.7 km bridge and causeway network connecting Male, Villingili, Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi. The project will be a national economic engine and lifeline connecting Hulhumale, Hulhule and Male with the proposed Gulhifalhu Port and the Thilafushi Industrial Zone. The scheme is composed of three (3) navigation bridges of 140 m main span across the deep channel between each island, 1.41 km of marine viaduct in deep water, 2.32 km marine viaduct in shallow water or on land, and 2.96 km of at-grade roads.

The land interchanges on Male’ and Villingili will be signalised junctions, while there will be roundabouts at Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi. Bus terminals are planned on each island near the junctions with the mainline. To use renewable energy as a sustainable measure in infrastructure, the project will use solar power for road lighting, navigation lighting, deck cell lighting, CCTV and lighting on sign gantry and architectural lighting. Solar panels will be installed on the top of the lamp posts and along discrete lengths of the bridge parapets.

The project is expected to commence by December 2020. The GMCP will adhere to the hallmarks of Indian development partnership assistance like transparency, partnership – full participation and ownership of the host Government – and competitive pricing, officials said.

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