Maldives govt impotent as traffic woes mount

Traffic congestion in Male

A main road in the capital Male blocked with traffic and pedestrians. This has a become a common sight in Male and Transport Authority says the government is helpless to resolve it. MIHAARU PHOTO

The government has no immediate plan to stop the influx of vehicle imports to the Maldives and ease the mounting traffic congestion in the capital, Transport Authority said Wednesday.

Transport Authority Chairman Abdul Rasheed Nafiz told Mihaaru that the recent increase in vehicles in capital Male has led to traffic jams in its narrow roads.

However, there is nothing the government can do to resolve it, he admitted.

“There is only one solution. To minimize the number of vehicles being imported. But we can’t implement that either,” Nafiz explained.

Nafiz also painted a grim picture of the traffic issues surrounding the capital by warning that the present rate of vehicle imports could prove catastrophic to the roads and residents in the not so distant future.

The authority had recently made a futile attempt to curb the hike in vehicles with a new regulation which was aimed at putting an expiry date on vehicles. But disputes within the government had put the implementation to a standstill.

“Some people say that 15 years is too short to revoke the registration. Others say 20 years is too much. There was no consensus over that,” he said.

– Why the sudden vehicle influx?-

According to Nafiz, the hike in development projects in Male and better standard of living, vehicles on installment schemes were all contributors to the recent vehicle influx to the capital.

Traffic congestion in Male

Traffic congestion in capital Male. MIHAARU PHOTO

He also pointed out the continuous flow of expatriates to the Maldives was leading to congestion of the capital. Most of the higher class expats have also taken vehicles, he added.

-Male-Hulhule Bridge won’t help-

Despite government claims that the landmark bridge currently under construction which would connect capital Male to the reclaimed suburb Hulhumale would ease traffic congestion, the Transport Authority disagrees.

He said the bridge could prove more traffic congestion in both Male and Hulhumale as it would pave the way for vehicles to travel between the two islands.

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