RANGOON — A Mandalay-based developer has commenced work on the construction of a 16-hectare (40-acre) resort to be built on dormant farmland by the Taungthaman Lake, home of the famed U Pein Bridge.
The resort, to be built on an overgrown clearing near the eastern end of the 1.2-kilometer (0.75-mile) teakwood bridge, will cater to increasing tourist arrivals in the area.
“The main objective of the resort is to conserve the environment and provide development for local people,” said Soe Myat Thu, adviser to construction firm Taungthaman Thistsar Co. “The resort will showcase Myanmar traditional foods and handicrafts based on Myanmar culture.”
Amarapura Township locals have cautiously welcomed the development.
“It is good that a resort will be built,” said Mandalay-based writer Suu Ngat. “I made remarks at [the developer’s] recent press conference and I presented three suggestions for the development—not to damage the lake’s ecosystem, not to damage ancient buildings nearby and not to affect the lives of locals.”
The company has compiled a list of local fishermen, traders and hawkers selling goods and handicrafts in the area with the intention of negotiating an agreement on their use of the land around the eastern end of U Pein Bridge.
“According to our list, there are around 60 sellers,” said Soe Myat Thu. “Some of them sell on the bridge and some sell nearby. We are thinking of building shops for them not far from the bridge for their convenience and for the convenience of visitors.”
Taungthaman Thistsar received approval for the resort project from the Mandalay Division government on Feb. 27 and has begun conducting a land survey. Locals from Taungthaman and Ywathit villages, which sit at opposite ends of the development, are now working at the construction site.
“Some villagers have worked at the resort site to clear bushes and rubbish. They earn 4000-5000 kyats (US$3.67-4.58) per day,” said Ywathit villager Shwe Aung.
The resort is set to be completed in 2018 and Taungthaman Thistsar estimates the final cost of the project to be in the order of 30 billion kyats (US$27 million).