Yangon au­thor­i­ties ap­pear to back­track on high-rise re­view

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - MYAT NYEIN AYE my­at­nyeinaye@mm­times.com

Of­fi­cials seem to have come down on the side of an­gry de­vel­op­ers in the row over the sus­pen­sion of high-rise projects ei­ther un­der con­struc­tion or at the plan­ning stage.

YANGON city au­thor­i­ties ap­pear to have come down on the side of an­gry de­vel­op­ers in the row over the sus­pen­sion of 222 projects ei­ther un­der con­struc­tion or at the plan­ning stage. Fol­low­ing a city-wide re­view of project de­signs, the sus­pen­sion was or­dered be­cause the build­ings re­port­edly vi­o­lated draft zon­ing reg­u­la­tions.

How­ever, the draft in ques­tion has yet to be opened for pub­lic com­ment be­fore its sub­mis­sion to Yangon re­gional hlut­taw for ap­proval.

Par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion is be­ing di­rected to 12 of the most prominent de­signs after in­spec­tors or­dered the de­vel­op­ers to dis­man­tle some floors al­ready built, a step that the de­vel­op­ers com­plained would be ex­tremely costly.

The con­struc­tion com­pa­nies have al­ready com­plained that they have been forced to lay off hun­dreds of work­ers and could face bankruptcy be­cause of the sus­pen­sion.

On July 29 the chair of Yangon Re­gion par­lia­ment’s eco­nomic com­mit­tee spoke out in sup­port of the de­vel­op­ers. Daw San­dar Min, who heads the re­gional Fi­nance, Plan­ning and Eco­nomic Com­mit­tee, said they had suf­fered “enor­mous losses” be­cause of the re­view of projects, which were all ap­proved by the for­mer gov­ern­ment.

Yangon’s mayor, U Maung Maung Soe, has now stepped into the row. After he per­son­ally in­spected three of the sites told to cut floors, he re­scinded the or­der, ac­cord­ing to U Kyaw Yin, the de­vel­oper of Ivy Con­do­minium, one of the build­ings in­volved.

“Three con­dos were in­spected by the mayor on July 29, and were au­tho­rised to con­tinue con­struc­tion in ac­cor­dance with the per­mits they were granted,” he said, sug­gest­ing that the re­main­ing nine build­ings could re­ceive the same per­mis­sion.

He added that some of the de­vel­op­ers had met yes­ter­day with the mayor and the chair of the in­spec­tion com­mit­tee, who had agreed that fresh in­spec­tions would take place as soon as pos­si­ble, to be fol­lowed by ap­proval of the orig­i­nal per­mits.

“At first, the mayor didn’t get in­volved in our case, but now he has ex­pressed his un­der­stand­ing of the im­pli­ca­tions for the econ­omy,” said U Myo Myint, of MKT Con­struc­tion. “[Be­fore,] the com­mit­tee con­sid­ered only the as­pect of ur­ban preser­va­tion, not the econ­omy.”

Two of the re­prieved projects are the 29-storey Kabar Aye Ex­ec­u­tive Res­i­dence (KER) and the 18-floor Mya Kan Thar condo. The third has not been iden­ti­fied.

Daw Ni­lar Kyaw, leader of the in­spec­tion com­mit­tee, said the three projects had sub­mit­ted complaints about the in­spec­tion quicker than the oth­ers, al­low­ing fresh in­spec­tions to pro­ceed. She called on the other de­vel­op­ers to pro­vide their own ex­pla­na­tions for flout­ing the draft zon­ing rules.

“We haven’t is­sued per­mits yet, but we have re-in­spected the three projects on the ba­sis of the de­vel­op­ers’ pe­ti­tions. We hope the other de­vel­op­ers will sub­mit ex­pla­na­tions soon,” she said.

But MKT’s U Myo Myint in­di­cated that the city au­thor­i­ties had al­ready taken the ini­tia­tive in con­tact­ing the de­vel­op­ers.

“They called us first say­ing that if we sub­mit­ted ex­pla­na­tions they would in­spect the build­ings again and reis­sue the orig­i­nal per­mit. The mayor un­der­stands that these 12 build­ings were in­spected on the ba­sis of new reg­u­la­tions, but had al­ready re­ceived per­mits un­der the old reg­u­la­tions,” he told The Myan­mar Times.

In­spec­tion com­mit­tee spokesper­son U Ye Min Oo said the com­mit­tee is not re­spon­si­ble for grant­ing per­mits.


Photo: Aung Myin Ye Zaw

The Yangon City high-rise com­mit­tee in­spects a build­ing un­der con­struc­tion.

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