EPA to sue Afcons for failure to pay MVR 69m fine for reef damage

Wrecked bridge platform on Vilimale' reef. (Sun Photo/Naail Hussain)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided on Thursday to sue India’s Afcons Infrastructure for failure to pay an MVR 69 million fine for damages to the Vilimale’ reef.

Yuvraj, the self-elevating platform used by Afcons for the construction of the Thilamale’ Bridge wrecked on the Vilimale’ reef on August 16, 2022. It was refloated nearly two weeks later, on August 27, 2022.

A survey conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) showed the reef sustained massive damages in the incident, and resulted in four large craters forming on the reef.

The EPA fined Afcons by MVR 69 million in November 2022.

EPA assesses damages to Vilimale' reef following the grounding of a self-elevating platform. (Photo/EPA)

The company unsuccessfully appealed the fine with Environment Ministry, and later filed a Civil Court case. While the court denied an injunction to postpone the fine payment, the case remains ongoing.

EPA’s director general Ibrahim Naeem told Sun on Thursday that the agency is working on sending the case to the Attorney General’s Office in preparation of a lawsuit.

Afcons was originally told to pay the fine within 30 days, and later, by November 2023. But the company failed to pay the fine.

EPA’s report shows the wrecking of Afcon’s platform resulted in damages to a 2,755 square meter area of the reef.