Yangon Govt to Clear Squatters from Main Roads
By Thazin Hlaing 26 September 2018
YANGON — The Yangon Region government will take legal action against those who squat or do business without permission on main roads in Yangon.
In response to a question by Twante Township lawmaker U Ne Naing Oo at the regional Parliament on Tuesday about the government’s response to squatters on main roads, regional electricity, industry and transportation minister Daw Nilar Kyaw said that legal action would be taken under the Highways Law.
The regional government has sued squatters in 17 cases who opened shops or extended their housing into the boundaries of main roads in townships in the outskirts of Yangon such as Twante, Kungyangon, Kawhmu, Dala and Hlaingtharyar.
Seven additional cases are yet to be opened, said Daw Nilar Kyaw.
“According to the Highways Law, legal action will be taken against anyone who squats with road boundaries,” she said.
Some people, lawmaker U Ne Naing Oo said, start with a stand to sell small snacks, then open a kiosk, and finally squat on main roads.
Ko Kaung Myat, a Yangon resident who has to travel frequently to Twante for work, said that drivers have to be very careful driving on Yangon-Twante highway.
“The main problem with roadside shops is that people drive at high speeds and it is dangerous for children who run onto the road from these shops,” he said.
According to the 2014 Highways Law, which was then amended in 2015, opening eateries and shops within road boundaries without the permission of the Roads and Bridges Department is punishable by six months’ imprisonment and/or a fine of a minimum 50,000 kyats to a maximum 500,000 kyats.
The law also prescribes a fine of a minimum 100,000 kyats to a maximum 500,000 kyats for constructing a building within road boundaries. Second-time violations carry a one-year jail sentence plus a fine of up to 1 million kyats.
The Department of Roads and Bridges under the Construction Ministry has reportedly warned road squatters across the country to leave as soon as possible or face legal action under the Highways Law.