"Poorly planned urban neighborhoods are associated with petty crimes such as graffiti and vandalism", Patricia Brantingham writes in Harvard Internal Review. It's not just petty crime that happens in Male neighborhoods, but serious crimes like knifing and drug trafficking. Bad as this may be, crime is not the top problem for most Male citizens. It's housing shortage. Let us see what three leading candidates, Anni, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Hassan Saeed, offer them in their respective manifestos.
In reviewing these promises one must consider each candidate's understanding of the issue, what solutions he offers and how feasible they are. In considering economic feasibility one must keep in mind that the total revenue generated by the Government in 2008 is expected to be about $800 million. Against this, the proposal to build 7000 to 8000 flats will cost about $600 million at current rates. The bridge to Hulhumale is expected to cost at least $ 250 million. Developing an additional Hulhumale like city is expected to cost about $ 500 million. Considering such figures, an anonymous visitor to this blog left a comment saying, "some of the promises are so outrageous that a 10 year old kid will not believe them!"
Here are the salient features of the housing and urban development pledges of the three leading candidates:
How they see the Problem:
- Anni believes that the housing crisis is the result of the government's failed atoll development policies, which led to in-migration towards Male. Wasting $ 50 million on Hulhumale, the government has failed to find a solution to the congestion in Male Anni says. Due to lack of an effective policy or regulatory framework there is no access to an affordable real estate market.
- Hassan Saeed believes that the key issues are increasing rents and shortage of housing, which is aggravated by unfair regulations in the allotment of flats. The housing problem is accompanied by Lack of basic services, environmental vulnerability and division of the population.
- Gayoom believes that the housing problem is the result of population increase and in-migration to Male.
- All three candidates acknowledge that it is a serious issue that tsunami victims have not been provided housing even after 4 years.
- Gayoom promises to encourage the development of real estate business in the private sector, with long-term financing. He will strengthen/develop housing regulations.
- Hassan promises to stop making profits from essential services like housing. He will draft fair regulations on housing.
- Anni promises to facilitate the development of housing in the private sector by providing building material in the islands, facilitating loans, and developing regulations.
- Anni and Gayoom promise to compete tsunami housing in one year.
- Hassan Saeed promises to complete tsunami housing within a definite time
- All three candidates promise long term loans and subsidized housing for the vulnerable groups.