RANGOON — Burma’s former capital is set to sprawl in all directions under an ambitious urban development plan unveiled on Wednesday, which includes the revival of a controversial proposal for a satellite town on the western bank of the Hlaing River.
Mayor Hla Myint presented the 8.1 trillion kyats (US$7.4 billion), 119,000-acre expansion plan to a session of the Rangoon Parliament on Wednesday, outlining the staged development of seven new satellite towns, beginning with construction to the northeast of East Dagon Township and in a 30,000 acre allotment comprised from parts of Kyimyindaing, Seikgyikanaungto and Twante Townships to the city’s southwest.
The proposal was unanimously accepted for discussion during next week’s sitting, despite the reservations of some lawmakers about the inclusion of the southwestern proposal in the plan.
“The mayor gave second priority to the new town in the southwest of Rangoon, which was the location of the aborted city project last year,” said Dr Nyo Nyo Thin, and independent lawmaker representing Bahan Township’s No. 2 constituency. “The projected cost is once again too large, and his explanations are vague.”
Nyo Nyo Thin’s comments refer to last year’s plan to build across the Hlaing River, expanding Rangoon’s official city limits some 30,000 acres westward in order to build 20,000 homes. The proposal was later shelved after allegations by lawmakers that the chiefs of the Myanmar Saytanar Myothit company, which was initially awarded the development project, had close ties to Rangoon Division Chief Minister Myint Swe.
The Greater Yangon Strategic Development Plan, formulated by the Yangon City Development Committee and tabled by Hla Myint, envisions five further satellite developments in Thanlyin, Dala, Htantabin, Hmawbi and Hlegu Townships for completion in the next fifteen years, in order to accommodate the city’s projected population of 10 million in 2040.