High­way ‘tres­passers’ given a re­prieve

A planned evic­tion of shan­ty­towns along the Yan­gon-Man­dalay high­way has been in­def­i­nitely sus­pended, with hous­ing of­fi­cials cit­ing mon­soon rains as the rea­son be­hind the de­lay.

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - – Trans­la­tion by San Layy ZAY YAR LIN za­yarlinn@mm­times.com

TENT-DWELLERS along the Yan­gon-Man­dalay High­way have been granted a re­prieve, ap­par­ently to avoid mak­ing them home­less in the rain, of­fi­cials say. The bull­doz­ers have been put on hold un­til fur­ther no­tice, though no evic­tion date has been set.

More than 4000 tents and shanties line the high­way on ei­ther side. Their res­i­dents in­sist they have nowhere else to go, and that if their mod­est homes are de­stroyed they will sim­ply come back and re­build them.

U Yu Khaing, di­rec­tor of the De­part­ment of Ur­ban and Hous­ing De­vel­op­ment, told The Myan­mar Times on Septem­ber 23 that an ini­tial or­der to clear the shan­ty­town had not been fol­lowed up.

“I’m wor­ried that the tres­passers would have prob­lems if they were evicted dur­ing the rainy sea­son, and we’re still wait­ing for spe­cific in­struc­tions. So the or­der is sus­pended,” he said.

The DUHD, which is part of the con­struc­tion min­istry, and Hlegu town­ship’s Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tive De­part­ment had al­ready is­sued evic­tion no­tices with re­spect to the shan­ty­town, which is lo­cated be­tween the 3 mile 2 fur­long and 5 mile 2 fur­long posts in Hlegu town­ship. The set­tle­ment cov­ers an area of about 1454 acres (581 hectares), which had been orig­i­nally ear­marked by the agri­cul­ture de­part­ment for the plant­ing of lemon­grass. The DUHD took over the land last March for hous­ing.

“Rea­son­ably priced hous­ing will be built on that land, with in­ter­na­tional-stan­dard schools and hos­pi­tals,” U Yu Khaing said.

The evic­tion no­tices is­sued on Septem­ber 5 said the op­er­a­tion would take place on Septem­ber 17, but the date passed and noth­ing hap­pened.

“The Min­istry of Con­struc­tion will re­move the tres­passers. But I think the evic­tion was post­poned be­cause of prob­lems re­lat­ing to the rainy sea­son,” said Hlegu town­ship ad­min­is­tra­tor U Aung Kyaw Oo on Septem­ber 26.

Tres­passers on the same stretch of land were re­moved by the for­mer gov­ern­ment last De­cem­ber. The cur­rent res­i­dents, many of whom re­turned af­ter the pre­vi­ous evic­tion plan, have re­named their dwellings Aung Yada­nar, Yada­nar Aung and Gant­gaw Kyun vil­lages. Many of them come from Kayin and Kachin states and Aye­yarwady and Yan­gon re­gions, Ko Win Ko, a res­i­dent of the self­styled Aung Yada­nar vil­lage, told The Myan­mar Times on Septem­ber 26.

“Af­ter they sent in the bull­doz­ers, a lot of strangers came to take ad­van­tage of the con­fu­sion,” he said.

“The gov­ern­ment should be able to tell who has a real hous­ing prob­lem and help them. They could pay in monthly in­stall­ments of K20,000 or K30,000,” he added.

“We wrote to Yan­gon Chief Min­is­ter U Phyo Min Thein ask­ing him to find them some­where else to live,” said a lo­cal vil­lager, U Py­one Cho. “Un­less the gov­ern­ment finds them al­ter­na­tive ac­com­mo­da­tion, they’ll just come back.”

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