Taungthaman resort project stalled by local concerns
FOLLOWING local complaints, construction of the Taungthaman tourist resort is on ice again. The Mandalay Region government is reviewing potential negative impacts of the suspended project, and will submit a report by the end of this month, according to a Mandalay official.
The model village and cultural park, which was already approved by the previous government, was slated for two plots surrounding the iconic Taungthaman Lake in Amarapura township.
Part of the K10 billion development was suspended after a site inspection by the chief minister and mayor in May, with officials citing the need to examine any environmental consequences on the historic site. At the time, developer Taungthaman Thitsar said it was 90 percent done clearing the area, and 5pc into construction work.
Now the resort project, part of which is located less than 1900 feet (580 metres) from the historic U Bein Bridge, will be reviewed by an 11-member panel that was formed on September 7. The panel’s report is due to be issued by the end of the month, Mandalay Region’s Minister of Resource and Environmental Conservation U Myo Thit told The Myanmar Times on September 13.
“We will submit our findings to the regional government,” said U Myo Thit, who is also the chair of the panel. “Skilled local people will analyse the project through the lens of their respective sectors. If it will harm the environment, we will not allow it.”
On September 10, Mandalay Region Mayor U Ye Lwin put a freeze on numerous aspects of construction until the report is complete. Construction is not allowed within 200 feet of U Bein Bridge, a signboard for the project must be taken down, construction of a smooth stone street near the lake has been halted, and buildings cannot be erected outside of one designated section of the project.
The first – a 40-acre (16-hectare) plot surrounded by the villages of Taungthaman, Nwarnotawsu, Tenanttha and Ywarthit southeast of the lake near the bridge – was given the go-ahead in March 2015. The second, a 58-acre (23-hectare) parcel, was approved on March 28, just before the administration changed hands.
Construction of the resort and cultural park began in April 2015 and is expected to take about five years to complete.
The developer could not be reached for comment, but in June had welcomed the new government to inspect the project. – Translation by Khine Thazin Han and San Layy