RANGOON — The Union Parliament has approved a loan of more than US$100 million from South Korea to build a bridge connecting Dala to downtown Rangoon.
Under the terms of the deal, signed off in Naypyidaw on Thursday, the Ministry of Construction will be given a 40-year, 0.01 percent interest, $138 million loan from South Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund for a 1.9-kilometer (1.16-mile) suspension bridge connecting Lanmadaw Township’s Phone Gyi Street to Bo Min Yaung village in Dala.
Hla Tun Oo, the Union Solidarity and Development Party lawmaker representing Dala in Naypyidaw, said he was delighted that the proposal was unanimously accepted on the parliament floor. He told The Irrawaddy he hoped that the bridge would herald future development in Dala’s village communities.
“We have suggested that when the bridge is designed, it includes water pipelines from Rangoon for distribution in Dala. If we can solve the area’s transportation and water problems, more development will follow,” he said.
Sitting on the other side of the Rangoon River, Dala is a relative backwater compared to the commercial capital, lacking a water supply, electricity infrastructure and employment opportunities. Tens of thousands of Dala villagers work in Rangoon, and rely on daily ferry or sampan commutes across the river.
Hla Tun Oo said that consultations have been held with the local community to explain the project, including the contentious issue of land that will be appropriated during the bridge’s construction.
“The road approaching the bridge will be 130 feet, while the current road is 100 feet, so an extension is needed for 15 feet on either side of the road,” he said. “We promised locals that we will help them claim the compensation they deserve from the authorities.”
Soe Tint, Deputy Minister for Construction, told parliament on Thursday that the government would contribute an additional $30 million to the project, slated for completion in 2020.