Kan­daw­gyi Park he­lium bal­loon project gar­ners ob­jec­tions

The Myanmar Times - - News - YE MON MYAT NYEIN AYE news­room@mm­times.com

A BAL­LOON­ING plan to pro­vide tourists with a bird’s-eye view of Kan­daw­gyi Park may yet be de­flated by law­mak­ers try­ing to jet­ti­son the pro­posal.

Myan­mar Voy­ages In­ter­na­tional Tourism Com­pany said it has al­ready se­cured per­mis­sion to launch a he­lium bal­loon ven­ture above Yangon’s Kan­daw­gyi Lake. The chair of the com­pany said the plan will help boost tourism in the coun­try’s largest city, and ex­pects to start launch­ing bal­loons in De­cem­ber.

“We got per­mis­sion af­ter a [Yangon Re­gion] cab­i­net meet­ing in June,” said the MVITC chair, who asked that his name not be used. He added that the busi­ness is part­ner­ing with a US-based com­pany for the ven­ture.

The chair said that he has al­ready paid hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in land-lease fees for the up­com­ing project.

But Min­galar Taung Nyunt town­ship law­maker U Hla Htay said yes­ter­day that MPs are pre­par­ing a pro­posal to ques­tion the project in an up­com­ing re­gional hlut­taw ses­sion. Some res­i­dents have asked that the bal­loon project be can­celled, he said.

“The gov­ern­ment should have in­formed par­lia­ment be­fore they gave per­mis­sion to the com­pany,” U Hla Htay said.

One of the big­gest com­plaint is that the project may re­quire that dozens of old trees be cut down.

Yangon City De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee de­nied hav­ing granted per­mis­sion to Myan­mar Voy­ages In­ter­na­tional Tourism Com­pany to launch the project. How­ever, a YCDC mem­ber added that the tree con­cerns were ground­less.

“We al­ready con­ducted a sur­vey and can en­sure that there is no need to cut down old trees. Some smaller trees will need to be re­moved and re­planted else­where,” said U Ko Ko Lin from YCDC’s De­part­ment of Play­grounds, Parks and Gar­dens.

Yangon res­i­dent U Soe Myint, who lodged an ob­jec­tion to the project, said the bal­loon­ing area will block the en­trance to the park that he uses to ex­er­cise in the morn­ing.

“The main point here is that this project should be ac­cepted by the peo­ple,” he said.

“We are wor­ried that we will not have ac­cess to our park en­trance if the bal­loon project takes up the size of a field. The gov­ern­ment should not make a de­ci­sion about pub­lic land with­out the peo­ple’s sup­port,” he added.

The Myan­mar Times was not able yes­ter­day to get com­ment from the re­gional gov­ern­ment in re­sponse to the bal­loon plan, or the ob­jec­tions.

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