A deal on compensation for local residents seems to have unlocked the way to the long-awaited bridge over the Yangon River linking downtown Yangon with Dala township.
U Kyaw Myint Oo, chair of the Dala Township Development Committee, told The Myanmar Times over the weekend that a compromise had been reached with residents affected by the proposed Yangon-Dala Overbridge, which is envisaged as a symbol of the friendship between Myanmar and South Korea.
The agreement was sealed on May 16 at a monastery in west Kamar Kasit ward of Dala township at a meeting attended by local parliamentarians U Hla Tun Oo, U Htay Shein and U Than Hlaing, along with government and township officials and Dala residents.
“We reached a compromise with no objections. We have submitted it to parliament for approval. Once we get the green light, we will organise a committee to pay compensation. This is a five-year project,” said U Kyaw Myint Oo.
Myanmar and South Korea agreed to build the bridge in 2012, said U Han Soe, director general of the Ministry of Construction.
Construction is expected to begin this year and run for five years, but the project still requires parliamentary approval.
The estimated cost is US$168 million, of which South Korea will provide $138 million and Myanmar $30 million, which will be funded from a long-term, low-interest loan.
Dala is currently reachable by ferry from Pansodan Jetty, or on small sampan boats. The only road access is via a bridge over the Yangon River to Hlaing Tharyar – a roundabout route that few use. A car ferry also crosses the river to Dala about 10 times a day.
U Han Soe said President U Thein Sein signed an agreement to build the bridge during a visit to South Korea in 2012.
“Dala is the gateway both to Ayeyarwady Region and Yangon Region. That’s why we want the bridge to be built. The surveying and measurement started long ago, and now it can go ahead,” he said.
The government has yet to announce how many houses are included in the project area but surveys have been conducted on both sides of Bo Min Yaung Road in Kamar Kasit ward. The approach road to the bridge will be about 40 metres (130 feet) wide, requiring an extra 4m of land on either side of the road.
The bridge will link Bo Min Yaung Road to Phone Gyi Road – the southern continuation of Pyay Road – on the downtown Yangon side of the river.
U Tin Hlaing, chair of the community support committee for Dala township, told The Myanmar Times that compensation would be calculated to ensure public satisfaction.
“A monastery, a Buddha image, some houses, a school and other structures are in the project area. We have a plan to compensate the owners satisfactorily on the basis of our negotiations. We hope this will go ahead this year,” said U Tin Hlaing.
Sayadaw U Athika of west Kamar Kasit ward’s monastery said they would agree to move the image of the seated Buddha provided an alternative site was offered.
“This project seems to be good for the community, so there is no reason to object if we receive an alternative plot of land,” he said.
Ko Than Htay of Kamar Kasit ward, whose property is also included in the project area, said he believed the authorities would offer “proper compensation”. “If they do I think we should accept it,” he said. “This will be good for our township. I think public services will improve once the bridge is completed.”
Source: Myanmar Times