Py­in­mana school restarts con­struc­tion af­ter pub­lic back­lash

The Myanmar Times - - News - SWAN YE HTUT swanye­htut@mm­

PY­IN­MANA town au­thor­i­ties have ap­par­ently backed down in the face of pub­lic sup­port for a school con­struc­tion project that of­fi­cials had tried to block. Local res­i­dents can­celled a planned protest march against Nay Pyi Taw City Devel­op­ment Com­mit­tee af­ter the com­mit­tee al­lowed con­struc­tion work to re­sume.

The city’s en­gi­neer­ing depart­ment had sought to block fur­ther work on the site on the grounds that de­vel­op­ers had failed to seek per­mis­sion for the school, the Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion Mid­dle School No 1 Kanna in Yan Aung 2 ward. The con­struc­tion of the four­storey school, which is 90 per­cent com­plete, is be­ing fi­nanced by the Soe Elec­tric Foun­da­tion.

The de­vel­op­ers have ap­par­ently agreed to com­plete the work in ac­cor­dance with local plan­ning rules.

“The sus­pen­sion was or­dered [on July 22] be­cause build­ings in Nay Pyi Taw are re­quired to con­form to local reg­u­la­tions,” said U Zaw Myo Aung, head of the en­gi­neer­ing depart­ment (build­ing) of Nay Pyi Taw City Devel­op­ment Com­mit­tee on July 29.

On learn­ing of the sus­pen­sion, local res­i­dents had called for a peace­ful gath­er­ing to protest. One of the or­gan­is­ers told The Myan­mar Times, “The word spread very quickly on so­cial me­dia. Then, Py­in­mana rep­re­sen­ta­tives, mem­bers of Nay Pyi Taw Coun­cil and oth­ers in­volved took it up with Nay Pyi Taw’s mayor, who then in­structed the devel­op­ment com­mit­tee to al­low con­struc­tion to pro­ceed.”

U Soe Tint, chair of Soe Elec­tric Foun­da­tion, whose do­na­tion is fi­nanc­ing the con­struc­tion of the school, wrote to the head­mistress, Daw Yamin Thu, af­ter the city tried to sus­pend the project.

“The sus­pen­sion let­ter was pub­li­cised on so­cial me­dia. I con­sulted many teach­ers, but no­body had ever heard of a school re­ceiv­ing such a let­ter,” she said.

The school’s fu­ture stu­dents are cur­rently study­ing at Laythar and Kanna monas­ter­ies, with stu­dents in grades 6 through 8 study­ing in the morn­ing and the other grades us­ing the space in the af­ter­noon.

Soe Elec­tric Foun­da­tion is fund­ing the con­struc­tion of the new school and the de­mo­li­tion of the old build­ing be­cause it was over­crowded, di­lap­i­dated and ill-ven­ti­lated. Foun­da­tion of­fi­cial U Khin Zaw told The Myan­mar Times, “The res­i­dents started to or­gan­ise their protest af­ter U Soe Tint could not get a straight an­swer from of­fi­cials when he called the city devel­op­ment com­mit­tee.

“I want to help de­velop our town,” he added. – Trans­la­tion by San Layy

Photo: Swan Ye Htut

Con­struc­tion on the Kanna school is 90 per­cent com­plete.

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