K. Male' | Fathimath Saya Ahmed | 07-January-2017 | Saturday 02:47 | F_SayaAhmed | Local | 1,097
Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom has reiterated his call on Tourism Minister Moosa Zameer to preserve Feydhoo Finolhu as a picnic island.
In a tweet, Maumoon called on Tourism Minister Zameer to maintain Feydhoo Finolhu as a picnic island for people living in the Male' City region.
While the Kuda Bandos Island, earlier used as a picnic island has been transferred into a resort, Maumoon said the people in the Male' region no longer have a nearby picnic island.
Maumoon had earlier expressed concern over the government plan to lease off Feydhoo Finolhu Island which is currently being used for various purposes of the Maldives Police Service.
In a letter addressed to Tourism Minister Zameer in November 2016, Maumoon highlighted the importance of having a picnic island near the capital city.
He said that an island such as Feydhoo Finolhu is important for school students, youths and families to go camping and on picnics.
In October, the Tourism Ministry announced a list of islands which can be sold off without calling for a bidding process.
Following the publication of the list, former President Maumoon and opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) called on the government to retain Feydhoo Finolhu as a picnic island.
Additionally, local NGOs and members of the public had also voiced concern over the plans to lease off Feydhoo Finolhu Island.
However, the government recently sold Feydhoo Finolhu Island for around USD 4 million (MVR 61 million) without calling for a bidding process.
According to sources, Feydhoo Finolhu Island was leased to a company named Pearl Atoll Private Limited owned by three parties.
A Maldivian business tycoon from Addu City, Chinese Shenzhen Sunpen Investments and Hong Kong Mirich Investments are the shareholders of Pearl Atoll Private Limited.
The 4.1-hectare island managed by the Police Welfare company was leased for a 50-year period. The lease duration can be extended for 99 years.
In December, Tourism Minister Zameer said the deal to lease Feydhoo Finolhu Island would bring around USD 80 million for the Police Welfare Company in 50 years.
The government list publicized in October includes 11 islands and 2 lagoons which can be sold off without a bidding process.
The procedure to lease islands and lagoons without a bidding process was approved with an amendment to the Tourism Act.
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