New Delhi: Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Saturday inaugurated the first India-funded grant project of 2021 in the capital Male. The project to upgrade the Ekuveni running track into a state-of-the-art synthetic nine-lane running track is the 8th Indian grant project of the country in the last 6 months.
Present on the occasion was India's high commissioner Sunjay Sudhir. The ceremony included a limited over cricket match with the participation of the President and Indian high commissioner, a relay race, and showcase events by differently-abled children. President Solih closely monitored the progress of the upgrade work and extended his heartfelt appreciation to all parties involved in the project's expeditious completion.
The work on the Ekuveni running track and cricket ground started in September of last year. In fact, the groundbreaking ceremony for the project took place in November of 2020 during the Indian foreign secretary Harsh Shringla's Maldives visit.
Speaking at the inauguration the Indian HC said, "Relations between India and Maldives are historical, comprehensive and unique. India has not only supported the plans and priorities of the govt of Maldives but has also been the first responder in times of crisis".
Highlighting, "The high impact community development projects undertaken through Indian grant assistance constitute an important dimension of the dynamic development partnership between our 2 countries."
The next few months will see more such projects being inaugurated. These include, Rasdhoo Coastal protection project, Wetland Park in Faresmathoda, a refurbished ‘My Home - Fiyavathi’ orphanage in Hulhumale’, Central Park and renovated Jetty in Hulhumale’, classrooms in Lhohi and Kinolhas schools.
When it comes to Addu city, India is assisting in setting up 3 fish processing plants, 5 eco-tourism zones and a Drug-Detoxification Centre. In northern islands, India's grant assistance includes setting up a bottled-water plant in Hoarafushi, and a soil- testing lab at the Hanimaadhoo Agricultural Research Centre.
The Ekuveni Project is the only track of international standards in the country. It forms part of a larger set of 30 high impact community development projects being implemented across the Maldives by India with a financial outlay of $13 million.