Nay Pyi Taw town­ship needs eco­nomic progress to draw res­i­dents: of­fi­cial

The Myanmar Times - - News - PYAE THET PHYO pyae­thet­phyo@mm­

GROWTH of the lo­cal econ­omy is key to at­tract­ing more res­i­dents to Nay Pyi Taw’s Pob­bathiri town­ship, where plans to cre­ate a re­tire­ment com­mu­nity for for­mer civil ser­vants have fallen flat, ac­cord­ing to Nay Pyi Taw Coun­cil mem­ber U Tin Tun.

“It’s true that this town­ship has a sparse res­i­dent pop­u­la­tion so far. It is im­por­tant to de­velop the lo­cal econ­omy to at­tract more res­i­dents,” he told The Myan­mar Times yes­ter­day.

Houses in Pob­bathiri town­ship were built un­der Myan­mar’s for­mer mil­i­tary regime, aim­ing to pro­vide ac­com­mo­da­tion for civil ser­vants and mil­i­tary per­son­nel after they re­tired.

The scheme has failed to live up to its billing, how­ever, and many houses sit empty. Most of the va­cant res­i­dences are owned by serv­ing civil ser­vants and just a few are owned by re­tirees.

“Most of the civil ser­vants in Nay Pyi Taw are orig­i­nally from Yangon and Man­dalay. So they usu­ally re­turn to their homes after re­tire­ment. That’s why there is a low num­ber of res­i­dents,” said U Tin Tun, who also acts as of­fi­cer in-charge of the town­ship.

He said that might change if cottage in­dus­tries or larger-scale oper­a­tions such as ex­port in­dus­tries were to set up shop in Pob­bathiri, part of the eight­town­ship Nay Pyi Taw Coun­cil area.

“Peo­ple will come to live here when the town has op­por­tu­ni­ties to make money,” U Tin Tun said.

Un­der the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment, there were ru­mours that an in­dus­trial zone would be cre­ated in Pob­bathiri town­ship, but no plan was ever im­ple­mented.

Such a zone would still be wel­come, U Tin Tun said.

“We are work­ing for de­vel­op­ment of the town­ship. If an in­dus­trial zone project comes to fruition, there will be in­dus­tries as well as con­struc­tion com­pa­nies so peo­ple will come here to work,” he said.

Per­haps sens­ing that the town­ship’s many empty dwellings were in­creas­ingly giv­ing Pob­bathiri a ghost­town vibe, the Nay Pyi Taw City De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee in Fe­bru­ary sent let­ters to house own­ers in­struct­ing them to re­turn to their prop­er­ties reg­u­larly for house­keep­ing and main­te­nance.

The idea of an en­clave for re­tired civil ser­vants and mil­i­tary per­son­nel was pro­posed in 2008, when a re­tired cap­tain sub­mit­ted a let­ter di­rectly to then-se­nior gen­eral Than Shwe sug­gest­ing that ac­com­mo­da­tion be pro­vided to them after re­tire­ment in Nay Pyi Taw.

That re­tired cap­tain said the plan, put for­ward in the let­ter three years after the mil­i­tary gov­ern­ment moved the cap­i­tal to Nay Pyi Taw, was botched.

“This town was to be a place mostly in­hab­ited by re­tirees, but there are few re­tirees liv­ing here be­cause a ma­jor­ity of the houses were slated for cur­rent civil ser­vants. But they aren’t liv­ing in their houses and in pub­lic hous­ing in­stead. So the houses be­came empty,” said the re­tired cap­tain, who lives in Pob­bathiri town­ship’s Wanadipa ward.

“From the be­gin­ning, it [land and houses] should have been al­lo­cated for re­tirees who would re­ally live in them and at least it [buy­ers’ intentions] should have been scru­ti­nised in ad­vance.”

The 2014 cen­sus put the pop­u­la­tion of Pob­bathiri town­ship at 116,491, out of about 1.16 mil­lion peo­ple in the greater Nay Pyi Taw Coun­cil area.

Photo: EPA

Farm­ers plough paddy fields in Nay Pyi Taw with buf­faloes on July 6.

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