Burma

Rangoon Parliament Endorses Plan for 7 New Satellite Towns

By Thu Zar 22 June 2015

RANGOON — The Rangoon Division Parliament has voted to approve the Greater Yangon Strategic Development Plan, which will establish seven new satellite towns over the next 25 years to accommodate the city’s booming population.

Friday’s session—held to consider the proposal tabled by Rangoon Mayor Hla Myint the previous week—voted overwhelmingly in support of the development plan, with 113 lawmakers in favor, two against and one abstention.

Those few lawmakers against the proposal renewed their criticisms on the floor of parliament, claiming the plan lacked transparency.

“The Greater Yangon Strategic Development Plan 2040 is about the leading committee for implementing the project,” said U Kyaw, a lawmaker representing Thingangyun Township (2). “Nothing is mentioned about the members of that committee…If the project is to be presented to the people, I think the committees should also be presented in a transparent manner.”

Bahan (2) lawmaker Nyo Nyo Thin said she remained concerned at the high priority given to the southwestern satellite town, which was suspended indefinitely last year after allegations that developers involved in the project had ties to Chief Minister Myint Swe. During Friday’s session, she was instructed by Speaker Sein Tin Win to cease discussing the southwestern proposal, after parliament voted on Thursday to approve an expansion of the city’s western boundary to accommodate the project.

“I tried to discuss it and was told that I need to stop talking about the project, which was already approved previous day. I was warned that what I discussed did not match the topic and I was not allowed to continue,” she told the media afterwards.

The expected initial cost of the development plan is 8.1 trillion kyats (US$7.4 billion), which will include land acquisitions northeast of East Dagon Township, followed by the southwestern site on the western bank of the Hlaing River, Dala, Thanlyin, Htantabin, Hmawbi and Hlegu. The development plan anticipates paying 5-10 million kyats (US$4500-9000) per acre for the lands it will acquire within the seven project areas.

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