In a recent development, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has lodged an appeal on the decision to levy a fine against the Greater Male' Connectivity Bridge construction company. The case stems from an incident involving the AFCONS platform, which was deployed for drilling boreholes during the survey and embankment phase of the bridge construction. This incident, which took place in August last year not only caused major damages that resulted in public outrage, but AFCONS was also fined MVR 69 million for the damages that were incurred.
While the decision to fine the company is clearly understandable in a country that thrives off of its nature, with the livelihood of the nation greatly depending on it, AFCONS still contested the EPA’s decision leading to an appeal.
Due to AFCONS contesting the decision, an investigation was carried out by the Environment Ministry, which stated that there was no ground for altering the fines that were initially imposed. The investigation further shed light on the reasoning behind the development, stating that the construction company had ample opportunity to take necessary precautions to prevent the incident from occurring. Consequently, the ministry deemed it appropriate not to revise the imposed fine based on these findings.
As part of the penalty, the ministry announced that MVR 15 million from the fine would be deposited into the Environmental Restoration Fund, a great move by the Ministry towards emphasizing the commitment to environmental conservation in the Maldives.
This decision by the ministry underscores the importance of adherence to environmental regulations and the responsibility of construction companies to prioritize safety and preventive measures, especially when the Maldives usually do not stick to fines around environmental damages.