By Ranjana Narayan
New Delhi - After the cancellation of a multi-million deal with Indian firm GMR for development of Male airport in 2012, there has been a u-turn in a promise to grant two plots of land by the previous Nasheed government to Indian firms Tata Housing and 18SG Group for development, says 18SG owner Sanyogita Atrey.
The plots in Nadhee and Odeon in Male island were promised as free sale land by the then government of President Mohammed Nasheed in 2010 to be developed into high-end housing by the Indian firms.
The land was promised as part of a deal inked by Tata Housing and 18SG to construct 350 houses in Male, in a government buy-back initiative. The houses have been completed and handed over to the Maldivian government.
After the coup, in which Nasheed was deposed and went into exile, everything changed. The housing project got delayed. “They gave us the land then, and now the new government has taken it back,” Atrey said.
Ratan Tata has filed a case and demanded that the present government of President Abdulla Yameen settle the issue.
"We approached the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) over the issue. The land was free sale, and in exchange for all the money we have put in for the housing project. But it has been terminated," she said.
“The MEA has helped us a lot. Brotin Banerjee, MD of Tata Housing, met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. She was very supportive," Atrey said.
"They said what belongs to us should be given to us."
"Ratan Tata has told the Maldivian government to give us compensation, like they did in the GMR case."
"The government project is done, and they have taken delivery of the houses, but our personal land promised to us for free sale has been taken away."
"We wanted to meet the President of Maldives to arrive at a settlement. It has been so many years we have been involved in the project. Let's see what turn the case takes," she added.