Maalhos economy affected from Hibalhidhoo blockage
Baa atoll Maalhos island’s thatch industry has been affected due to unavailability of dry coconut palm leaves from Hibalhidhoo for over a year.
The latter has been under Maldives Police Service care following the discovery of a stash of weapons and explosives.
Maalhos Council’s in-charge Mohamed Saeed told Eydhafushi Times (ET) that 85 percent of the island’s women lament due to their occupation of thatch weaving being negatively impacted.
He said that on various occasions the Council met concerned authorities of the central Government and appealed to them – to no avail. This included writing to Government agencies, and even personally meeting then Home Minister Umar Naseer.
“We requested the Minister to let Police leave the dry leaves on the beach, and that we will collect them from there. The brunt of this negative impact has to be borne by our destitute families. This is immeasurable loss upon an island which makes a monthly income of MVR 150,000 (USD 9,727) from thatch weaving,” Saeed said.
Ever since Maalhos was populated, the community engaged in thatch weaving, after picking dry coconut palm leaves from Hibalhidhoo, according to him.
Saeed is now pondering whether to gather all concerned islanders and make a voyage to the central capital Male’ and together voice their grievances to concerned authorities.
“Petitions are a thing of the past. This has had an emotional impact on us when we see people being deprived of their income. Maybe those who are well-off will not understand this,” Saeed said.
He said that he believes there has to be some way Maalhos people should be able to obtain dry coconut palm leaves from Hibalhidhoo.