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