MALE, Maldives: India and the Maldives on Wednesday signed a contract to set up fish processing plants at two of the islands in the Maldives.
The island nation’s Foreign Secretary Abdul Ghafoor and other officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and High Commissioner of India Sunjay Sudhir participated in the contract-signing ceremony virtually.
“The contract-signing ceremony for setting up of neighbourhood fish processing plants in Maradhoo and Hulhudhoo was organised by the Addu City Council,” the Indian embassy said in a statement.
In 2019, Maldives and India signed MoUs to set up three neighbourhood fish processing plants or ‘Geydhoshu Mas Plants’ costing a total of around US$ 1.5 million in Maradhoo, Hithadhoo and Hulhudhoo under MoUs signed between the High Commissioner of India.
The Addu City Council will be the implementing agency for these projects. The contract for construction of the fish processing plant in Hithadoo has been awarded by Addu City Council in May this year.
In his address, Indian High Commissioner Sunjay Sudhir recalled that the MoUs for implementation of the fish processing plants was signed between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on December 4 last year.
Sudhir said that there had been concrete progress regarding the projects despite the obstacles created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
These fish-processing plants are the first in a series of High Impact Community Development (HICDP) projects that India and Maldives have committed to executing together under a total grant of US$ 5.5 million.
The Indian embassy said that it is remarkable that despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Maldives authorities have ensured concrete progress on the small and medium projects being undertaken as part of India’s grant assistance.
“Today’s ceremony marked the fourth and fifth projects under Indian grant assistance to the Maldives to be completed or inaugurated this month. It is remarkable that despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, different ministries and island/city councils, in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have ensured concrete progress on the small and medium projects being undertaken as part of India’s grant assistance,” the statement read.
These projects chosen by the Maldives government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are those that have a high level of community impact and participation in the areas of livelihood and income generation, health, education, gender and child empowerment, sports, sustainable development etc.
The ministry said that the HICDPs are born out of India’s own development challenges and experiences that require the creation of infrastructure and capacities at local levels of government along with large projects on the national scale.
“In this context, the Government of Maldives has also requested for the upgrade of Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company Limited (MIFCO’s) facilities under the USD 800 million Line of Credit. India is happy to share its development experience with friendly countries like the Maldives as a part of its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy reciprocated by Maldives’ ‘India First’ policy,” the statement read. (Source: ANI)