Shop­keep­ers anx­ious about mar­ket re­build

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - MYAT NOE OO my­at­noeoo@mm­

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.

Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing

Pedes­tri­ans walk past the de­serted Min­galar Mar­ket af­ter it was gut­ted by fire.

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