Squatters delay Hlaing Tharyar housing

A low-cost housing project for workers in Hlaing Tharyar township has been delayed by squatters who refuse to vacate land set aside for the project.

The prevalance of squatters at the low-cost housing site has kept the project from moving forward. Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing / The Myanmar TimesThe prevalance of squatters at the low-cost housing site has kept the project from moving forward. Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing / The Myanmar Times

Though the land for the Shwe Lan Bin housing project has been rented, a stubborn group of squatters are demanding payments of up to K15 million (US$12,100) each before moving out, according to officials.

“We haven’t been able to start construction because the squatters are still there,” said Hlaing Thayar industrial zone management committee chair U Myat Thin Aung.

The project is to sit on 16 acres of land, offering homes for workers from Hlaing Tharyar and nearby Shwe Pyi Thar industrial zones. There are to be 26 different buildings that are five storeys tall with 12 rooms each for a total of 1560 units, with 480 units built in the first phase.

The land has already been rented from the Department of Urban and Housing Development under the Ministry of Commerce, and tentative construction has begun, though progress is now held up by the squatters. U Myat Thin Aung said representatives are now trying to bargain with the residents.

The situation is similar to Shwe Pyi Thar industrial zone, which also is attempting to address the problem of squatters to build staff housing.

“They are demanding up to K15 million, but we’re hoping they’re satisfied with K4.5 million at the end,” he said.

“Construction cannot start at the site as the people are still there.”

Each unit of the planned building is to be about 18 feet by 18 feet. Supplied with water and electricity connections, the planners estimate selling the units at around K8 million, in an effort to make them affordable for workers.

Some business and factories which need to house workers have booked units with the intention of letting them to workers. Factory owners will be able to pay with a five-part installment plan.

Planners say they anticipate spending about K3.2 billion ($2.4 million) in total on the project. The frame of the structure was originally intended to be finished by the end of October, though this may be delayed if the problem of squatters continues.

While this project is being built by the industrial zone administration committee, the Ministry of Labour has also announced plans to build near rental housing for labourers.

The Department of Urban and Housing Development has lent several plots of land to various industrial zone administration committees to build staff housing. More such housing is planned in the Eastern New Dagon industrial zone, for instance.

“Staff housing is intended to be built on other industrial zones,” said U Tun Myint Aung, a deputy director at the department.

“They will also be built and placed [with people] under the committees’ plan.”

Source: Myanmar Times

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