In an apparent effort to ensure good relations with local residents and avoid the problems that have dogged other development projects, local authorities have agreed to pay compensation in advance to people forced to move to make way for the Yangon-Dala Bridge.
The committee set up for the purpose has announced that compensation will be paid this month, following a two-week verification process, U Tin Hlaing, chair of the Dala township support committee, has told The Myanmar Times.
Export-Import Bank of Korea, working under the Ministry of Construction, is scheduled to start work on the bridge this year and complete it by 2020.
U Than Hlaing, who also represents Dala in the Yangon Region Hluttaw, confirmed that once the bridge is complete, Dala will be incorporated into the Yangon City Expansion Area.
“At Thilawa, there have been conflicts with local residents,” he said, referring to Thilawa special economic zone, where local farmers have claimed they were denied adequate compensation.
“We are working to prevent such conflicts. The compensation committee will present its findings to the Central Committee, which will report to the regional government.”
“The Korean government will provide a loan, and work will begin only after the government has paid compensation,” he said, adding that a water pipeline would also connect Dala with Yangon.
The bridge appears to be popular in Dala which, though just across the river from downtown Yangon, is poor, undeveloped and often runs short of water in the dry season.
“Local residents are not against the bridge. They think the compensation issue is being handled properly, and want to see it built quickly so that Dala will be joined to central Yangon,” said a local official.
Local resident Ko Toe Toe said, “There will be a meeting with local residents. We expect a good outcome from negotiations.”
A monk from nearby Kamar Kasit monastery said, “We will have to move from our land, which has a 200 foot frontage. We will have to move our image of the Buddha, but we will receive both compensation and new land.”
U Tin Hlaing said compensation would be payable for the 90-acre area affected by the development at K15,000 a square foot, and that residents’ concerns were a priority. The bridge could help relieve traffic congestion in Yangon, he added.
U Htay Shein, another local Yangon Region Hluttaw representative, said, “Property prices are rising, though no buyers have emerged yet. Everybody in the township that I’ve spoken to wants the bridge built as soon as possible so that we can become part of Yangon. That will bring economic, social, health and educational improvements. I’m not aware of any opposition.”
South Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund offered to extend a 40-year US$138 million loan at 0.1 percent interest to help build the suspension bridge, which was approved by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw in May. Myanmar will contribute the remaining $30.3 million necessary to complete the project.
The project is expected to take around five years to complete. It was first discussed by President U Thein Sein on a 2012 visit to South Korea.
The Korea International Cooperation Agency has been tasked with drawing up a regional development master plan for Dala, which will be ready in early 2017.
Source: Myanmar Times