Nay Pyi Taw township needs economic progress to draw residents: official
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.
Farmers plough paddy fields in Nay Pyi Taw with buffaloes on July 6.