Mayor sup­ports ‘new city’

Yan­gon’s mayor said the con­tro­ver­sial project must go ahead as the city needs to expand hous­ing, busi­ness and pub­lic spa­ces to meet the fore­casted pop­u­la­tion growth.

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - Yeemon­tun@mm­times.com YE MON

THE Yan­gon Re­gion govern­ment is press­ing ahead with plans in the com­mer­cial cap­i­tal town­ships of Twante, Seik­gyi Khanaungto and Ky­ee­myindaing for the “new city” de­vel­op­ment, in line with a broader mas­ter plan it has for Myan­mar’s big­gest city, Mayor U Maung Maung Soe told the re­gional par­lia­ment last week.

U Maung Maung Soe said the city would face enor­mous prob­lems if there was no plan to expand op­tions for hous­ing, busi­ness and pub­lic spa­ces, given fore­casted fu­ture pop­u­la­tion growth. The 2014 cen­sus put the Yan­gon Re­gion pop­u­la­tion at nearly 7.4 mil­lion.

“We are draft­ing a mas­ter plan un­der the in­struc­tion of the chief min­is­ter,” said the mayor on Novem­ber 4. “We hon­our the im­prove­ment of liv­ing stan­dards for peo­ple more than [we are con­cerned with] the com­pa­nies who won the ten­ders for the new city. If these com­pa­nies can­not im­ple­ment our mas­ter plan, we will work to­gether with other com­pa­nies.”

Three com­pa­nies won ten­ders in 2015 to de­velop the “new city” project, sited west of down­town Yan­gon. De­vel­op­ment has not be­gun, how­ever, with the Na­tional League for Democ­racy-led re­gional govern­ment or­der­ing that the project un­dergo a review.

Also un­der review is a pro­posed new bridge that would span the Hlaing River to link the slated de­vel­op­ment with down­town Yan­gon.

The project is lo­cated on an 11,716acre site bor­dered by the Pan Hlaing River, the Twante-Yan­gon Canal, the Hlaing River and the Hlaing Thar­yarTwante road in west­ern Yan­gon, ac­cord­ing to an an­nounce­ment in state me­dia last year.

The re­gional govern­ment last week also told law­mak­ers of plans to build a new port near Nga Yoke Kaung beach in Aye­yarwady Re­gion. The govern­ment hopes that the port and its an­tic­i­pated link­ages to Yan­gon’s own port will in­crease for­eign and do­mes­tic trade and spur de­vel­op­ment at the new city site.

“We plan to im­ple­ment the in­ter­na­tional port south of Yan­gon city. If this port is im­ple­mented, the new city will be lo­cated in a strate­gic de­vel­op­ing lo­ca­tion,” U Maung Maung Soe said. “We are still con­tin­u­ing to im­ple­ment the Yan­gon new city yearby-year with the in­ten­tion of so­cioe­co­nomic de­vel­op­ment. And the port project will help to ex­tend and de­velop the south­west new city project.”

Yan­gon Re­gion law­maker U Kyaw Zin Oo (NLD; Twante 1) urged the govern­ment to be trans­par­ent in its im­ple­men­ta­tion of the project, given the fail­ure of its pre­de­ces­sor to ad­e­quately in­form par­lia­ment of its plans in the past.

“We just learned the in­for­ma­tion about the new city project from the mayor to­day,” he said on Novem­ber 4. “We should have known pre­vi­ously, but the govern­ment didn’t ex­plain to us [leg­is­la­tors].”

Plans for a “new city” were first made pub­lic by Yan­gon Re­gion’s thenchief min­is­ter U Myint Swe in 2014. The project was quickly mired in con­tro­versy af­ter it was re­vealed that the lit­tle-known Myanma Sata­nar Myothit Pub­lic Com­pany had been awarded the ten­der for what was then be­ing billed as a US$15 bil­lion de­vel­op­ment. Bow­ing to pub­lic pres­sure, the govern­ment an­nounced that it would re­tender the project.

Photo: Staff

Cars cross a bridge in Twante township, one of Yan­gon’s out­skirts slated for de­vel­op­ment in the “new city” plan.

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