Lagoons of the floating City being sold: will this project come to a halt?

This project was ambitious even from the start as it involved plans to develop a whole city on the water that included facilities such as residential areas, shops, hotels as well as restaurants.

Maldives Floating City

Maldives Floating City

The Maldives always makes headlines for the picture-perfect scenery and natural beauty of the island which attracts millions of visitors to discover the true beauty of the country. However, just like any other low-lying island nation, one of the biggest threats that this paradise has always faced was sea levels rising due to climate change, which led to the fear among locals and tourists alike that this slice of paradise would sink one day and the beautiful Maldives would be a dream destination that one could no longer travel to.

However, in order to combat these fears and the very possible reality of sinking islands along with finding a solution to the increasing difficulty in finding housing in the small spaces of the City, an extremely fascinating project was proposed in 2010. 

The ‘Maldives floating city’ project was an idea that was formulated between the Maldivian Government along with Dutch-Docklands, to be developed in lagoons close to the capital City of Male’ as well as the International Airport. This project was ambitious even from the start as it involved plans to develop a whole city on the water that included facilities such as residential areas, shops, hotels as well as restaurants. A first of its kind, the floating island project not only aimed to provide long and short-term residency to locals as well as foreigners but the project was also involved quite a bit of sustainability as cars and bikes were not allowed and walking was encouraged as well as plans to incorporate technology in order to help coral regenerate which will in return provide natural waves ensuring protection and comfort for the residents of the floating island. 

Since the original proposal and signing of the USD 1 billion project in 2010, no progress was made on the project and a re-signing took place in 2019 with plans and assurance to have a mock-up of the project done by Ramadan of 2022. By 2022 many people were already suspecting the reality of this project, as more than a decade had passed by with no news, no updates and no progress made on this ambitious project, with many finally calling it a money laundering scheme that made headlines internationally as people from all around the globe were intrigued by the idea of one of the most beautiful countries in the world building a floating city which, if it became a reality would provide a solution to climate change for low-lying nations such as the Maldives. 

While the mock-up did not take place by 2022, by February 2023, the mock-up of the floating city project was finally visible from the Hulhumale’ lagoon. And while it was not even close to what people imagined a mock-up would look like, there was finally some hope that the floating island project would progress faster than the decade-long wait for a less-than-basic mock-up that was put up for a show. 

What many do not know about the project are the major details around exactly how many lagoons were sold for the completion of this project and whether any progress or work was made on any of the lagoons that were given up for this project. It was recently revealed by a local news media following a submission under the Right to Information Act by the media to the Government, the Tourism Ministry stating that five lagoons were given to the Dutch Docklands Maldives Pvt Ltd in 2019 in order to develop the floating island project. They also revealed that under the agreement that was signed, the company has not started dredging any of the lagoons that were leased to date and out of the five lagoons, two of them have already been sold by the company as the agreement signed between the two parties allowed them to do so.

While the Ministry did not say exactly when the company sold the lagoons, they noted that one of the lagoons was sold for MVR 1.54 million (USD 100,000) while the second lagoon was sold for MVR 76,750 (USD 5,000).

With this new information being available about the progress of the ‘Maldives floating City’ project, the hopes of this project becoming a reality are becoming less as it is starting to appear that the project was nothing but ambitious talks and dreams that may never turn into a reality.

While there surely are a lot of details surrounding the project and all the developments, or the lack of it during the past decade, with the latest information on the project, the Maldives may never see this project turning into a reality after all.

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