When foreigners think of the Maldives, their minds often conjure images of pristine resorts, breathtaking azure blue waters, and those iconic over-water villas that grace travel brochures worldwide. However, for the residents of the Maldives, their daily concerns often revolve around two pivotal issues: housing and corruption.
In this idyllic island nation, life can be a challenging struggle for its locals. With development primarily centered in the bustling Greater Male' Area, people from all corners of the Maldives have been drawn to the capital city in search of a better life. Increased migration for improved education, job opportunities, and healthcare access has transformed the capital into a densely populated hub, causing rent prices to soar. Today, renting an apartment can cost a staggering MVR 50,000 or more, while a single room can set you back by MVR 6,000 or above each month.
In response to the escalating rent prices, the Maldivian government has introduced housing schemes. Over time, the promise of housing has become a familiar refrain from successive administrations. The current government, in keeping with this tradition, announced a housing scheme divided into two parts: the 'binveriya' scheme, which granted land plots to Male' residents, and the 'gedhoruveriya scheme,' which pledged apartments to eligible residents according to government-set criteria.
The eagerly awaited announcement of the lucky residents set to claim the 4,000 residential flats in Hulhumale' Phase II finally arrived on November 4, 2023. However, the revelation triggered a storm of controversy among the general public, with many alleging that the housing distribution under the gedhoruveriya scheme was unfair and deviated from the established point system.
According to the Anti-Corruption Corporation (ACC), a surge of complaints has inundated their offices, pointing out discrepancies in the list of recipients that apparently contradicted the established guidelines. As a result, the ACC has advised the government not to proceed with the handover process until these complaints are thoroughly investigated.
With the complaint application window open from November 5th to 9th, the ACC has called upon the government to allow ample time for the proper scrutiny of these complaints to uncover the truth behind the allegations.
This is not the first time that the general public has pointed out that people in these schemes are often receiving housing unfairly. Earlier this year, when the Government publicized the list of recipients of land plots under the Binveriya scheme, many noted the big business owners and politicians who were included in the list even though they do not fit the list for those who are to receive the land plots under the scheme which was meant to help those residents who don’t have their own homes in their own city.