Shopkeepers anxious about market rebuild
With authorities recently putting out to tender the demolition of Yangon’s Mingalar Market, shopkeepers are nervous about losing out when the new structure begins to take shape.
STALLHOLDERS occupying the ground floor of Yangon’s Mingalar Market fear they could lose out when the building is rebuilt.
The government has recently invited companies to tender for the demolition of the existing structure, a representative for the shop keepers said, while a separate tender will then be issued for the two-year reconstruction.
But stallholders fear some of them may be denied priority slots on the ground floor, said their representative, U Tin Win.
‘I hope they build the new market quickly. Our rents are going up all the time’
Daw Khin Than Htay Shopkeeper
“The demolition that has now been put out to tender is expected to take two months,” U Tin Win said. “After that they will invite tenders for the reconstruction, to be carried out within two years,” he said, adding that the deadline for the demolition tender is October 6.
The blaze that engulfed Mingalar Market on 123rd Street on January 9 spread through the third, fourth, fifth and sixth floors – gutting 1630 shops and destroying some K36 billion worth of goods. U Tin Win said the government claimed they would accommodate existing ground floor stallholders as a priority. But the existing building has 850 stalls on the ground floor, each covering 5 square feet, and the new building will have 7 sq ft spaces.
“It looks like some of us will lose out,” he said.
The shopkeepers have proposed that the government take up extra space around the market to ensure that they can all be accommodated in the new structure, U Tin Win said. They have also asked to examine the architectural drawings of the new building, and the right to enter discussions with the construction company that will eventually be selected so they can make it clear exactly what they want. They also have questions about the financing of the reconstruction. The government has not asked stallholders for any contribution, and says it will rebuild the market from its own budget.
“I believe the government will pay for the construction,” said Daw Khin Than Htay, who owns the Nan Htike textile shop. “They asked nothing from us.”
“I hope they build the new market quickly,” she added. “Our rents are going up all the time. I now pay K1 million a month, 10 times what it used to be.”
The Yangon City Development Committee could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Pedestrians walk past the deserted Mingalar Market after it was gutted by fire.