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