Ask anyone in the world what they love about the Maldives; their answers are the same: the white sandy beaches. Ever since Maldives was discovered by the tranquility-hunting tourists across the globe, the must-set-foot-on sandy beaches have been the highlight of vacations in the island nation. Over the years, however, development has taken its toll on this haven of a country; leading beauty to chaos in the capital city. Driven by the bare necessities for survival, the nation’s capital has turned into a concrete slum with no natural leisure’s, save an artificial beach at the east coast of the island. The once beautiful island of Male’ is painfully the most congested and overcrowded city in the world today, with little hope for salvation; until now.
In August 2015, the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure, Dr. Mohamed Muizzu announced the construction of a brand new beach at the west coast of the capital Male’. This ground breaking, never-considered-before idea has taken the country by surprise. While thousands of citizens pondered upon the possibility of the creation of a beach, thousands went into eager anticipation; and with good reason too. The 1990’s saw an artificial beach built in the east coast of the capital, giving it’s’ occupants the luxury of swimming at a beach after a long time. Over the years, the artificial beach attracted more and more citizens, as the need for outdoors became crucial in the swarming city. However, the artificial beach has fallen short in accommodating its many visitors, giving rise to tension and expectations on the citizen’s side.
Contrary to age-old belief that things cannot change for the better, the announcement of a new beach at the west coast has given hope to the citizens of Male’. According to Minister Muizzu, the idea is to “create something beautiful for the citizens. The beach will bring a lot of changes to Male’, giving it a more ‘island-look’”; and it requires a sandy beach and clear waters that can be enjoyed by every citizen alike. Speaking with Maldeeb in August, Minister Muizzu described the beach to include a pavilion once fully constructed; providing the beach goers with a place to shower and change in after swims. The new beach is said to also host two fishing platforms in the sea constructed with the generous aid of STO.
To add glamor to grandeur, the new beach would also have a city hotel built in a 7000 sq. ft. land that would host conference halls, service apartments, sports arenas and more importantly, parking lots for the beach goers. The city hotel is believed to overlook the beauty of the beach once it has been constructed, giving people yet another reason to visit the beach; if the setting sun in the west doesn’t lure them with its majesty. The Tsunami Monument which currently stands at the east coast will also find itself in this new beach once the construction is complete; giving sunset watchers and photographers even more reason to visit the new beach.
This 41.5 million rufiyaa worth project will see massive changes to the road as well. The Boduthakurufaanu Magu, from West Park to IGMH will be taken as part of the new beach; a new road constructed in its place just 60ft. inland so people may enjoy the sights and sounds of the beach as they pass by in their vehicles. “The president wants the beach to have a modern look and wishes to develop the beach in such a way that it has class and facilitates to the needs of all age groups” said Minister Muizzu to Maldeeb in August. Sure enough, without much ado, construction has begun on this project, with a half of the former youth center being demolished to make space for the beach. The youth center has been given another plot of land for its uses as work remains in progress to construct the highly anticipated beach in the west coast.
For what it’s worth, this just might be the start of a great transition; apart from the many changes one has seen in Male’ this year. What good the beach will bring the citizens of Male’, how their reaction to this new go-to place would be, only time can tell. But things are looking good and busy as the west coast has already begun to change to cater to the new dreams and demands of a better tomorrow.