Pyinmana school restarts construction after public backlash
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
Construction on the Kanna school is 90 percent complete.