4 June 18 - Construction of the Mandalay port development project aimed at developing waterway trading in Mandalay Region will begin at the end of this year, said an official from the Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems.
The US$38 million project is being conducted in cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Feasibility studies have been conducted and compensation will be paid to farmers whose land will be expropriated in the port area, U Toe Aung Lin, head of the directorate, said on Sunday.
"The Myanmar government and JICA are planning to sign an agreement. They [JICA] plan to start the project at the end of the year, maybe in December. The union government already delimited the area for the project. If there are land owners in the zone, they will be compensated," said U Toe Aung Lin.
The port project aims at transporting passengers and goods along the Ayeyarwady River across the country and will be built on 20 acres of land, one kilometre west of Mandalay city.
The designated compensation will be paid for land expropriated for the project and squatters will be dealt with according to law, he said, without elaborating.
"The land is the main issue. As soon as it was announced that JICA would start the project, a survey was conducted, so squatters who arrived after that or those who enter knowing that the project will begin shortly will face legal action," said U Toe Aung Lin.
"According to our research, there are 70 landowners in the project area. Compensation for owners will be requested from the government and paid back after cooperating with the regional government. Everything will be done according to law," said U Aung Myo Khaing, deputy chief of the directorate.
The new port that will be built will include a container storage facility, a cargo storage warehouse, pier bridges, approach bridges, and machinery to load cargo on ships.
Mandalay is a strategic city for transport and communication, as it is near China, a main trading partner. Although trade is conducted with other cities via water routes from Mandalay, due to the underdeveloped port, loading and unloading cargo along the river is still done manually rather than by machine.
The project is part of the regional government's efforts to improve infrastructure and attract more foreign investments.
Source: Myanmar Times