24 May 18 - The Ministry of Transport and Communications has appropriated K47.77 million (US$35349) for the conservation of the Ayeyarwady River, said Deputy Minister U Kyaw Myo.
The appropriated amount will be used within three years at each priority stage from the 2018-19 fiscal year to the 2020-21 fiscal year, he told the Amyotha Hluttaw (Upper House) on Monday.
U Kyaw Myo said that out of the 1211 kilometres of the Ayeyarwady River – from Bamaw city in Kachin State to Nyaung Tone township in Ayeyarwady Region – 465kms do not require conservation, while there is ongoing conservation work on a 57-km stretch of the river.
He added that 689kms of the river need conservation work.
The conservation plan was initiated in 1988 with the aid of the World Bank and Netherlands-based Royal Haskoning Engineering Company Ltd. The river bed regulating method is being used in the conservation work, said U Kyaw Myo.
"There are 25 places that have to be conserved. It is estimated that it will cost around K47 million. The plan has been drawn up to carry out work in prioritised locations within three years," U Thet Hlaing Win, director of the Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems, said at a news conference.
The river bed regulation method is said to be economical and causes little environmental damage. The department drafted the Ayeyarwady River Course Conservation Main Plan in 2017, which is compatible with changing river courses.
However, the conservation of the Ayeyarwady cannot be done effectively due to a lack of experienced workers and insufficient funds, said U Win Khant, permanent secretary of the ministry.
Due to the high cost of conserving the river, conservation work is being done slowly.
"We are carrying out work on prioritised places based on our funds, our friends' help and financial support ratio," said U Win Khant.
Conservation work will be done at 51 places this year, including building 6.5kms of retaining wall and 260,000 cubic metres of dams, said U Thet Hlaing Win.
Source: Myanmar Times