Comprehensive plan necessary for Yangon’s sustainable redevelopment

Photo Aung Htay Hlaing, Aung Myin Ye Zaw, Zarni Phyo, Aung Khant and Shin Moe Myint/The Myanmar Times

​13 Nov 18 - Source: Myanmar Times - While Yangon has laid out ambitious plans to boost infrastructure and trade, members of parliament and urban planners say more needs to be done to address day-to-day problems faced by people in the city.

Among areas that will be addressed in plans are rule of law, sufficient drinking water, transportation development, housing development, reducing the gap between rural and urban areas, manufacturing development, job creation, improvement of trade and investment, the flow of goods, industrial development, health and education.

Some of the projects involving infrastructure will be undertaken by the Yangon Regional Government and the Union Government.

"There are 13 objectives for Yangon including the development of transportation, roads, bridges and manufacturing. We understand that elevated highways will be built by the Union Government and studies are under way. said U Than Naing Oo, a member of the Yangon regional parliament.

Around US$400 million (K626 billion) will be utilised to construct the 20.5 kilometre elevated Yangon Expressway linking the south side of Yangon – which includes Yangon Port, Thilawa SEZ – and the north side of Yangon – which includes the Yangon International Airport, Yangon Industrial Park, and the Yangon-Mandalay Expressway, according to the Ministry of Construction. The elevated expressway project will be implemented to improve connectivity between the south and north of Yangon. It is learnt that the winner of the tender for the project, expected to take two to three years, will be able to start work by next year 

 Meanwhile, the Myanmar-Korea Friendship Bridge, aka, Dala Bridge, will be constructed to connect Phone Gyi Street in Yangon and Bo Min Yaung Street in Dala town. The ceremony to break ground for the Dala Bridge will be held on December 1, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Elsewhere, according to Myanma Railways, it has been cooperating with international organisations to upgrade the circular railway system in Yangon.

"These are the projects that are needed for urban development. Under the State Counsellor's directives, projects that address the issues faced by the people every day will be implemented as quickly as possible before other large projects," said Daw Sandar Min, another member of the Yangon regional parliament.

Besides the projects to improve transportation, work is also being done to boost trade and the economy. 

 The Ngwe Pin Le Integrated Logistics Park and Inland Water Transport Jetty project will be implemented under the Yangon Regional Government. It is expected that this project will be completed in 2021 with an investment of K151 billion. Located in Hlaing Thayar Township, the project will cover 79 hectares.

"Yangon Region has two ports: Yangon Inner Port and Thilawa Port which is 16km away from the City. These two ports can handle 46 ships simultaneously. Yangon Inner Port has a capacity for 26 ships and Thilawa, 20. To boost the flow of goods, the port project on 426 hectares of land between Thayat Taw Village of Kawhmu Township and Taw Kha Lu Village of Kungyangun Township has been submitted to the Hluttaw. As it is intended to be a multi-purpose port, things such the handling edible oil, fuel transportation and so on can be done there," U Nay Bone Latt, also a member of the regional parliament, said on his social network page.

But Daw Sandar Min said that while these long-term projects are good, people want their basic concerns addressed with more urgency.

"The people of Yangon won't see the fruits of these large projects quickly. They just want issues like daily traffic congestion, erratic traffic lights, undisciplined YBS buses and taxis drivers to be solved. If these cases were solved, the government could regain the people's trust," she said. 

"Instead of talking about big projects, I want to see work that can be implemented quickly for the public," Daw Sandar Min added.

U Kyaw Latt, an urban planning expert said long-term plans for water supply, transportation, schools and markets are necessary to ensure sustainable development of the country's economic capital.

"Without having a comprehensive development plan which covers all parts of the city including education, markets and transportation, no work or project will be efficient," he said.

"In schools, there are nearly 70 to 80 students in each classroom. Markets are too crowded and also dirty, as well as having no space for parking. In terms of transportation, a 15-minute journey takes now nearly one hour. These are problems that arise in Yangon due to a lack of proper management," he added.

"After three decades of neglect Yangon is in need of extensive urban planning and redevelopment and the government face the gargantuan task to balance between long-term projects and short term-measures to alleviate the plight of the city folks." 

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