|By Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, New
DelhiMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
October 02, 2010 -- ROTTERDAM (NETHERLANDS) -- Floating livelihood in south Asia will soon be a reality.
India's neighbour Maldives has signed an agreement with the Netherlands government to set up world's first floating hotel, agriculture fields, residential homes and a golf course in middle of the Indian Ocean.
"Both the governments (Netherlands and Maldives) have agreed," said Koen Olthuis, creative director of Dutch Docklands, a company that has designed new floating concept for Maldvies, considered one of the most vulnerable nations to sea level rise because of climate change in the world.
"A formal announcement is expected next week".
Apparently the world's biggest on sea leisure and residential project is expected to start next year with construction of a hotel near the Maldivian capital city. These hotels will be part of a modern small township in middle of the sea having hotels and a 18 hole golf course.
Maldives like Netherlands does not have enough land available and much of it is below the sea level. So, Maldives had opted for using sea to provide people future livelihood. It has harped upon a unique technology using which Netherlands constructed first floating homes in its capital city of Amsterdam about a decade ago.
There are over 1,000 fully furnished floating homes with garden and parking area in the Netherlands now. "Cost of floating home is comparable with a house on land as one does not have to pay much for water on which the house is built," said Rutger De Graaf, director research and development with Deltasync, a company dealing with designing floating structures.
But one has to pay for erecting permanent structure to tie the house to the sea ground. "It (the cost) is almost same as for building a basement in the house," Olthuis said.
The only difference -- the floating home can rise by up to six metres depending on the design with a gush of water but does not move sidways.
Another advantage floating house has that it can be moved from one location to another, not so easy with homes on land.
Graaf says constructing a basic floating house in 200 square metre area can cost Euros 280,000 in Netherlands (Rs 16,80,00,00) but experts believe that the cost can come down with more use of technology and in countries where cost of construction is low like Maldives and India.
The first phase of construction will be completed by 2013 and entire project by 2017. The Netherland government has also agreed to a request from Maldivian government to have floating agriculture fields.
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