Residents demand pay for new Yangon bridge

Sampan operators and homeowners who have been asked to make way for a new bridge that will link downtown Yangon to a huge new development to the southwest of the city are demanding hundreds of millions of kyat in compensation.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the controversial Southwest New City is scheduled for March 27, with construction to follow as fast as possible, developers say.

The scheme is a reimagining of an earlier scheme that was called off amid accusations of corruption.

Its start date has already been postponed from March 15 because its patron, Yangon Region Chief Minister U Myint Swe, has been otherwise engaged in preparations to become the country’s vice president under the incoming government.

The bridge, to be called the Bagara Alat Creek Bridge, is to be the first and largest of a number of new bridges that will link downtown Yangon and Hlaing Tharyar township with the Southwest New City project.

U Tin Sein, a spokesperson for one of the project’s three developers – the Yangon South West Region Development Public Company – told The Myanmar Times on March 21, “Chief Minister U Myint Swe had to go to Nay Pyi Taw, so the groundbreaking ceremony was postponed to March 27. After the ceremony, construction will start immediately.” Completion is expected within 18 months.

The three companies selected to build Southwest New City are Yangon South West Region Development Public Company, Business Capital City Development and Shwe Popa

Construction, a subsidiary of Shwe Than Lwin. To build the bridge over the Hlaing River, 13 houses on the banks of the Alat Creek will first have to be demolished. Negotiations are proceeding with house owners, as well as sampan rowers, said U Tin Sein.

“Some sampan rowers are asking for K400 million in compensation, and one of the house owners is demanding K200 million. We’ve never faced this problem before. We’re even thinking of redesigning the bridge so as to avoid their houses,” he said.

The companies are proposing to pay the house owners K1 million each plus K1.8 million for six months’ rent, a total of K2.8 million. New land will also be found for them, and under a lateness penalty clause owners could receive K20 million. The bridge across the Hlaing River is a crucial first step to the huge project.

Located on 11,716 acres, the development is also bordered by the Pan Hlaing River, the Twante-Yangon Canal and the Hlaing Tharyar-Twante Road. Blueprints show that the companies plan to build five bridges in total – three connecting the area to Yangon and two crossing the other rivers.

“All we want is fair compensation and insurance,” said one Alat Creek villager, who requested anonymity.

“We don’t think K2.8 million is much. We don’t know where to go if we lose our homes. I think K20 million is appropriate for both sides. We also want our village to develop.”

Yangon Region Forestry and Energy Minister U Kyaw Soe said the three companies had to pursue negotiations during construction.

“These companies will be discussing compensation even as they drive in the first pile of the bridge,” he said.

 

Source: Myanmar Times

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