A decade of living in Hulhumale

by / Tuesday, 15 April 2014 / Published in News

Celebrating 10 years into its inhabitation, Hulhumale – a district of the capital Male – is gaining popularity faster than the capital city itself. People believe that this was the real intention when former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom modelled the island.

 

Its distinct features include the well planned roads and housing system, the trees, infrastructure and social attractions, the spaciousness in comparison to Male and most Maldivian islands, the day to day development and most of all, the ‘high-class’ living there. Designed in ways to embody development, Hulhumale is believed to be the symbol of the nation’s future.
Haveeru team made a two-day trip to Hulhumale on March 27 in order to make an exclusive coverage of the city to commemorate its 10-year anniversary, which was marked on Thursday. Haveeru journalists moved with the public: eating, walking and sleeping among them, investigating into local complaints and looking through their perspectives, and meeting with authorities and analysing the development.

Though the city is 10 years old, the idea has been older, stemming from the early 90s. However, for a “dream made come true” from so long ago, it seems Hulhumale development does not measure up to expectations.

Currently accommodating a population of about 60,000 people, Hulhumale is also an ideal place for Male residents to spend their weekends in an open environment, and for backpacking tourists to experience a Maldivian vacation. The well-known barbecue spot is packed with weekenders from Male. Water sports activities and the swimming platform brings liveliness and the required refreshment into the weekend. The roads are ideal for both romantic drives and racing. The combination: plantation greenery in its design; the spaced, black asphalt roads and the glorious Maldivian climate also make Hulhumale an idyllic place for photo shootouts.

Coming down to the problems, special interviews conducted by Haveeru’s feature editor Asiyath Mohamed Saeed brought light upon the gracious first settlers of Hulhumale. They are very thankful to the government for having provided them affordable accommodation that they could now call home, but they complain regarding the slow development of services in the city.

“The hospital and school aren’t developed,” Mohamed Arif, who is among the first settlers, said.

Haveeru business editor Ahmed Naif had gone to several guesthouses in Hulhumale, examining their services and standards. He has brought to light how these businesses are slowly turning Hulhumale into a tourist location and how the government needs to regularise the funds that revolve around these creative and affordable guesthouses.

The young and eccentric Haveeru writer Ahmed Nadheem found the luxury life, extravagant living and racing events in Hulhumale rather interesting.

Moving on to other factions of Hulhumale, assistant editor Niumathulla Idrees had found a sensitive string to strike on; the ferry difficulties. Population increases by the day, but the ferry services do not seem to be accommodating these mass requirements. People push each other like angry cattle to get on ferries where they have to sometimes stand the 20-25 minute ride to Hulhumale.

Haveeru’s local editor Ahmed Hamdhoon had sat and talked with the newest residents of Hulhumale, those moving into the newly-built 1000 flats. They had openly voiced their complaints of the poor structure of the apartments and the weakness in the whole setup.

Officials from the Housing Development Corporation (HDC), which manages Hulhumale, responded in their typical manner whenever posed questions regarding the Hulhumale developmental plans: the government is to blame and plans are already in motion.

HDC states that they are always planning ways to improve and develop Hulhumale further, but ultimately, the public will hold them responsible for all the activities that occur within the dark streets of Hulhumale at night.

There is another very alarming problem at Hulhumale that has been neglected as people are not aware of the risks it represents: there is no fire station in the city.

An Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) official who wished to remain anonymous said; “In a case of fire, six livelihoods can get destroyed in any Hulhumale flat. The property damage risk is very high there. A good example will be the row house fire incident of last December. Those row houses are built under one roof – prone to fire spreading. But there is no appropriate fire protection system in Hulhumale.”

Looking upon the Hulhumale police, it is a great pleasure to see that most policemen and women stationed in Hulhumale work together with the community. Unlike soldiers, Police are meant to maintain peace and work together with the public. This would enable them to get internal information about drug networks and other crimes, also earning the respect of the notorious Maldivian youth. With the increasing population in Hulhumale comes the worries of increase in organised crime and drug availability. It is easy to imagine that unless precautionary steps are taken immediately, it would not take much for Hulhumale crime rates to hit the ceiling within another 10 years.

Widow spiders have been recently seen in Hulhumale, and people comment on strange slug sightings too. A place the size of Hulhumale needs careful maintenance, or it will not take much time to go downhill. Pests, just like us humans evolve and resist the chemicals we daily use on them.

Hulhumale is an envisioned dream made real; it could be the Utopia of Maldives. Regardless of atoll or dialect, people from various regions of the small and pretty Maldives live on the same soil; Hulhumale. HDC can arrange events where the people can become one community there, have all their needs met there; have the Hulhumale Ghaazee school “fixed” so that the future residents of Hulhumale know how to take care of their home, develop the Hulhumale Hospital and make the city worth what it is being described as.

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