Re­gional MPs say Yangon gov­ern­ment full of hot air

The Myanmar Times - - News - YE MON yeemon­tun@mm­times.com

RE­GIONAL MPs are work­ing to burst Yangon City De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil’s bub­ble over a slated hot-air bal­loon field in Kan­daw­gyi Park.

Myan­mar Voy­ages In­ter­na­tional Tourism Com­pany says that it has al­ready gained per­mis­sion from YCDC to op­er­ate bal­loon flights over Yangon, promis­ing bird’s-eye views of the city and the famed Sh­wedagon Pagoda. A 40,000-square-foot site in Kan­daw­gyi Park was sup­pos­edly ap­proved as a launch­ing pad.

How­ever, be­cause of ob­jec­tions from nearby res­i­dents, lo­cal MPs are press­ing for the re­lo­ca­tion of the site.

Last week, the MPs op­pos­ing the project gath­ered for a meet­ing with the tourism com­pany, YCDC and rel­e­vant par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tees in which they were told that the gov­ern­ment would re­ceive US$120,000 per an­num for use of the site and that the com­pany had al­ready spent over $800,000 on the project, which it hoped to launch in De­cem­ber.

De­spite this, re­gional law­maker U Yan Aung (NLD; Min­galar Taung Nyunt) said that the MPs ob­jec­tions to the project still re­mained.

He blamed any is­sues aris­ing from the po­ten­tial re­lo­ca­tion of the site on the mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment who, he says, failed to in­form au­thor­i­ties in a timely man­ner of the project, leav­ing lit­tle time for ne­go­ti­a­tion and dis­cus­sion.

“We don’t ob­ject to the project in gen­eral – we just ob­ject to its [pro­posed] lo­ca­tion. We are con­cerned about the site’s prox­im­ity to the [Sh­wedagon] pagoda and that it is in a pub­lic area. We are wor­ried that res­i­dents will lose the use of this pub­lic park and its sports fields. We have lost pub­lic ar­eas in the past,” U Yan Aung said.

Yangon res­i­dent U Soe Myint, who lodged an ob­jec­tion to the project, said that he wel­comed last week’s meet­ing but was not sat­is­fied with its out­come and added that the gov­ern­ment should act quickly to change the site.

“We ob­ject to this project be­cause a lot of old trees will be cut down for the project site. We won’t al­low it,” he said.

There are some sug­ges­tions that YCDC may be try­ing to de­lay re­spond­ing to ob­jec­tions un­til it is too late.

Min­galar Taung Nyunt MP U Hla Htay said that he had tried to sub­mit an ur­gent pro­posal to the par­lia­ment stop­ping the choice of the Kan­daw­gyi Park site but it was re­jected.

“The Speaker didn’t al­low me to sub­mit my pro­posal. He said I had to wait. We met with the com­pany and found that the project is not 100 per­cent fi­nalised. We will still mon­i­tor the gov­ern­ment and the com­pany,” he said.

YCDC has said pre­vi­ously that no per­mis­sion has been given and that they have merely re­ceived a pro­posal from the com­pany.

MVITC has con­firmed that it has not yet signed a con­tract with the gov­ern­ment al­low­ing use of the pro­posed site.

The Myan­mar Times was un­suc­cess­ful in its at­tempts to reach the re­gional gov­ern­ment on th­ese lat­est de­vel­op­ments in the bal­loon­ing saga.

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