Burma

Suspended International Infrastructure Projects Resumed in Myanmar

By The Irrawaddy 14 January 2022

A number of development projects implemented with Official Development Assistance loans from Japan and South Korea have restarted after they were suspended following last year’s coup.

Among the projects are the Yangon-Dala Bridge, funded by South Korea, and the Thanlyin Bridge and the upgrading of the Yangon circular railway, both funded by Japan.

“The works were suspended for some six months, and we are pushing to finish certain works ahead of the rainy season and to meet the deadline as per the agreement,” said an employee of Nippon Signal, which is upgrading the signals system on the Yangon circular railway.

The project resumed in June last year and is now almost back to normal operation, added the employee.

An upgrade of the stretch of railway between Bago and Taungoo on the Yangon-Mandalay line was also resumed last month, while construction of the Yangon-Dala Bridge restarted in September last year, according to residents who live near the construction site.

Set to span the Yangon River, the bridge will link downtown Yangon and Dala Township. Funded by South Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund and also known as the Korea-Myanmar Friendship Bridge, the Yangon-Dala Bridge is expected to spur urbanization in Dala, which is still largely rural and undeveloped despite its close proximity to downtown Yangon.

Construction of the third Thanlyin Bridge linking Yangon and Thanlyin, implemented with loans from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has not yet resumed, but engineers and workers are being recruited, according to an engineer who has applied for a job on the project.

“Although field work has not yet restarted, design work has long resumed. Now they are planning to resume groundwork. They are recruiting engineers. I don’t know when it will resume. But I think it won’t be long,” the engineer told The Irrawaddy.

Another JICA-funded project to build a dam and upgrade the road in Sagaing Region’s Shwebo Township was also suspended following the coup. It resumed in May last year, before being halted again due to fighting between military regime troops and local resistance groups.

JICA has not yet responded to The Irrawaddy’s e-mail asking the agency if its projects in Myanmar are back on track.

Japan and South Korea are only continuing with ongoing projects which were agreed with the ousted civilian government in Myanmar. The two countries have suspended all new aid to Myanmar since the junta’s coup.


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