Emerg­ing in­dus­try in Kyauk­tan town­ship to re­cieve boost from World Bank fund­ing for in­fra­struc­ture

The Myanmar Times - - Business - TIN YADANAR TUN tinyada­nar­tun@mm­times.com

THINGS are look­ing up for Yan­gon’s rice bowl. Res­i­dents of Kyauk­tan town­ship, Yan­gon Re­gion, have be­gun to look for­ward to a fu­ture in which agri­cul­ture alone is not the cen­tre of their lives. Part of the rea­son is fund­ing from the World Bank.

Lo­cal real es­tate agents say peo­ple are mov­ing in, now that the com­ple­tion of a new bridge has cut the travel time needed to get to down­town Yan­gon. And the move­ment of in­dus­try to the spe­cial eco­nomic zone in nearby Than­lyin town­ship pro­vides a fresh source of jobs.

“Although trans­porta­tion in Kyauk­tan town­ship is still poor, we’re see­ing more peo­ple mov­ing in to stay, in­clud­ing some from Thi­lawa SEZ in Than­lyin town­ship. Prop­erty is not ex­pen­sive here, but the town­ship is be­com­ing more pros­per­ous as more peo­ple come to live here,” said lo­cal real es­tate agent U Aung Thein.

Low-cost and lux­ury hous­ing can be found around the Thi­lawa SEZ, he said.

“Af­ter some in­dus­tries opened up in Thi­lawa, job op­por­tu­ni­ties in­creased there and peo­ple em­ployed in those in­dus­tries came to live in Kyauk­tan town­ship,” he said.

Uptown Kyauk­tan is pop­u­lar both for its de­tached homes and for the rel­a­tively good public trans­porta­tion.

Ly­ing on the Yan­gon River be­tween Than­lyin town­ship and un­der­de­vel­oped Thongwa town­ship, Kyauk­tan town­ship lan­guished be­fore the com­ple­tion of the 900-foot-long (250-me­tre-long) long Hmaw Won Bridge in July, said lo­cal res­i­dent Daw Thi­dar.

“In the past, we had to go the long way round, via Thongwa town­ship to go to down­town, but with the new bridge, it takes only two and half hours. They also laid down a bus line,” she said.

The main busi­ness of Kyauk­tan town­ship is farm­ing, and its agri­cul­tural prod­ucts mostly end up in Yan­gon city, said real es­tate agent U Sein Maung.

“More than 70 per­cent of ac­tiv­ity in Kyauk­tan town­ship con­cerns farm­ing. Al­most all Yan­gon res­i­dents de­pend on our rice. The orig­i­nal res­i­dents are farm­ers, and didn’t see the need to im­prove the trans­porta­tion,” he said.

“Even within the town­ship, trans­porta­tion is poor, let alone if you want to travel out­side it. Kyauk­tan is a very un­der­de­vel­oped part of Yan­gon Re­gion,” he said.

For out­siders, the town­ship’s main at­trac­tion is the renowned Ye Le Pagoda.

Kyauk­tan town­ship was cho­sen for the fourth cy­cle of the Na­tional Com­mu­nity-driven Devel­op­ment Pro­ject (NCDD) for the pe­riod 2016-2020, in which the Min­istry of Live­stock, Fish­eries and Ru­ral Devel­op­ment uses World Bank fund­ing to de­velop in­fra­struc­ture, said pro­ject man­ager U Hla Khine. Funds are dis­trib­uted to vil­lages ac­cord­ing to their pop­u­la­tion size, he said.

“For 3000 peo­ple, we will give K20 mil­lion a year. Up to 5000 peo­ple, we give K40 mil­lion, K60 mil­lion up to 9000 and K120 mil­lion for more than 9000. The fund cov­ers build­ing and re­pair­ing in­fra­struc­ture, in­clud­ing roads, schools and hos­pi­tals,” he said, adding that the pro­ject de­tails and fund­ing for Kyauk­tan had yet to be fi­nalised.

The NCDD is op­er­at­ing in 63 un­der­de­vel­oped town­ships around the coun­try, in­clud­ing four in Yan­gon Re­gion: Kyauk­tan, Kungyan­gon, Htantabin and Kawhmu.

The pro­ject, which for­mally be­gins in Novem­ber, will be launched next month, said U Hla Khine.

“We will in­tro­duce the pro­ject and ex­plain how the funds are al­lo­cated and what res­i­dents need to do,” he said.

U Kyaw Myo, ad­min­is­tra­tor of Pan Chaung vil­lage, said, “We’re very glad the pro­ject is be­ing im­ple­mented here. Res­i­dents want to pave the roads be­cause our trans­porta­tion is so bad. We’ve had ac­ci­dent and sick­ness vic­tims die be­fore they get to hospi­tal be­cause of the poor roads. We look for­ward to fur­ther devel­op­ment over the next four years.”

Photo: Naing Win Htun

A crowded street in Kyauk­tan. In­fra­struc­ture is set to get a boost in Kyauk­tan with fund­ing from a World Bank pro­gram that aims to put de­ci­sion mak­ing in the hands of the lo­cals.

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