North­ern Yangon squat­ters no­ti­fied of im­pend­ing evic­tion

The Myanmar Times - - News - SHOON NAING news­room@mm­

SQUAT­TERS liv­ing in five vil­lages of north­ern Yangon Re­gion have been given a Septem­ber 5 dead­line to clear out of their il­le­gal dwellings, ac­cord­ing to a press con­fer­ence held by mem­bers of the af­fected pop­u­la­tions.

About 1000 peo­ple liv­ing in the Hlegu town­ship vil­lages of Sa Khan Gyi, Yada­nar Aung, Aung Yada­nar, Kant Kaw and Sein Lan re­ceived no­tice of the im­pend­ing evic­tion.

A group of lead­ers from the vil­lages held a press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day to ex­plain their rea­sons for stay­ing in the vil­lages il­le­gally and con­vey dif­fi­cul­ties they face. They also re­quested that any forced evic­tion come only if an al­ter­na­tive liv­ing ar­range­ment can be of­fered.

On Au­gust 21, the di­rec­tor of the Min­istry of Con­struc­tion’s Ur­ban and Hous­ing De­vel­op­ment De­part­ment for Yangon Re­gion, U Yu Khine, told the squat­ters to move out by Septem­ber 6, ac­cord­ing to U Py­one Cho from Yada­nar Aung vil­lage.

U Yu Khine re­port­edly told the af­fected com­mu­ni­ties that there were plans for a hous­ing pro­ject and con­struc­tion of schools and other build­ings in the ar­eas in ques­tion, ne­ces­si­tat­ing the evic­tion.

An 88 Gen­er­a­tion Karen stu­dents’ or­gan­i­sa­tion has is­sued an ap­peal let­ter to Yangon Re­gion Chief Min­is­ter U Phyo Min Thein on be­half of the squat­ters re­gard­ing the planned evic­tion. Copies of the let­ter were sent to the Min­istry of Con­struc­tion and U Yu Khine on Au­gust 23.

“We are just help­ing them since they asked for help,” said Nann Mu Khan, a mem­ber of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

U Py­one Cho said re­mov­ing the squat­ters against their will would not likely pro­duce the re­gional gov­ern­ment’s de­sired out­come.

“If they are go­ing to de­stroy [our houses] again, we just have to watch it hap­pen and then we will build tents again since we have nowhere to go,” he said.

The Yangon Re­gion ad­min­is­tra­tion has strug­gled to tackle the is­sue of il­le­gal res­i­dency in the com­mer­cial cap­i­tal and its out­ly­ing town­ships, where tens of thou­sands have moved in re­cent years seek­ing em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment was par­tial to forcibly clear­ing squat­ter­dense wards, some­times dis­man­tling their shanties in the early hours of the morn­ing.

Photo: Aung Khant

A leader from one of the squat­ter vil­lages fac­ing evic­tion speaks at a press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day.

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