Regional MPs say Yangon government full of hot air
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.