Com­pen­sa­tion promised as Yan­gon cir­cle line up­grade gath­ers steam

Myanma Rail­ways has pledged to ne­go­ti­ate com­pen­sa­tion and al­lo­cate re­set­tle­ment sites for fam­i­lies in 34 ar­eas ex­pected to be af­fected by a re­tool­ing of the Yan­gon cir­cu­lar rail­way.

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - PHOTO: EPA

COM­PEN­SA­TION is on the agenda for Myanma Rail­ways, as planned up­grades to the Yan­gon cir­cu­lar rail­way gather steam.

Myanma Rail­ways gen­eral man­ager U Htun Aung Thin told The Myan­mar Times there would be ne­go­ti­a­tion and com­pen­sa­tion for those af­fected by the project.

“We held an event to ex­plain how we will solve the prob­lem re­lated with shops, houses and plan­ta­tions along the cir­cu­lar rail­way route,” he said. “We al­ready did sur­veys and found a to­tal of 34 places which will be af­fected by the project. We will pro­vide com­pen­sa­tion and al­lo­cate places for re­set­tle­ment.”

The on­go­ing up­grade project is be­ing car­ried out in a part­ner­ship be­tween Myanma Rail­ways and the Ja­pan In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency (JICA). This be­gan in 2013, with the launch of the Greater Yan­gon De­vel­op­ment plan.

The cir­cu­lar rail­way up­grade project has two key sources of fund­ing: one Over­seas Di­rect Aid (ODA) loan from JICA, and the rest com­ing from the Myanma Rail­ways bud­get.

‘’En­gi­neers from Myanma Rail­ways will build sta­tions, plat­forms and drains with our own bud­get. We al­ready started at Pyay Road sta­tion and it will fin­ish in De­cem­ber,” said U Htun Aung Thin.

“We be­gan col­lect­ing the list of af­fected ar­eas along the cir­cu­lar rail­way since May this year. We just want to in­form the peo­ple that we have planned to re­set­tle them,” he said.

Myanma Rail­ways has no plan in place to com­pen­sate for land, as the prop­erty is al­ready owned by the state. Com­pen­sa­tion for fixed as­sets will be in ac­cor­dance with cur­rent mar­ket prices. For plan­ta­tions, the com­pen­sa­tion will be the equiv­a­lent of five years of earn­ings.

JICA’s ODA loan will be used to buy 66 DEMU car­riages to run along the cir­cu­lar rail­way, and will be around 24 bil­lion yen (US$206 mil­lion). How­ever, it will not be un­til at least 2018.

“For the short-term project, we hope to fin­ish in 2018. For mid-term, it is from 2018 to 2025. 2025 to 2035 is im­ple­ment­ing for the long-term project,” U Htun Aung Thin added.

Around 73,000 peo­ple cur­rently use the cir­cu­lar train each day. Myanma Rail­ways hopes that the up­grades will see the com­muter base in­crease up to 263,000.

“By up­grad­ing, we can re­duce the time [taken]. Now the train needs to take two hours and 50 min­utes for the whole route, and there are 38 sta­tions along the route. The train can drive 15 miles per hour. We hope to in­crease it to 26 miles,” said U Htun Aung Thin.

At present, the train must pass 25 roads along the cir­cu­lar route. The man­ual traf­fic sys­tem used at present is in line to be swapped out for a more mod­ern, au­to­matic sys­tem

“We aim for the project to be fin­ish in June 2019. But we need to con­sider about money and also the labour force,” said U Htun Aung Thin.

Photo: Zarni Phyo

A man waits at the Pazun­daung town­ship stop on the cir­cu­lar line route.

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