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Yangon suspends property project near Mya Yeik Nyo Royal Hotel

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Residents are objecting to a real estate development project earmarked for construction near the Mya Yeik Nyo Royal Hotel at Pale Street, Bahan township, as it is near Kokkine reservoir, which supplies water to nine townships in Yangon.

Locals are concerned about potential damage to the reservoir and water pumping station, as well as obstruction of the view of Shwedagon Pagoda if the project, which includes a dozen high rise buildings.

“If something happens to this reservoir, a large part of Yangon city would be cut off from running water,” said U Win Bo, president of Save Kokkine Reservoir from Danger Organisation Yangon, which was formed on March 11 by residents from Golden Valley, near the reservoir.

The nine townships which will be affected from potential damage are Bahan, Dagon, Kamayut, Mayangone, Tamwe, Sanchaung, Ahlone, Kyeemyindaing, and Mingalar Taung Nyunt. These include townships in which Shwedagon Pagoda and Yangon General Hospital are located.

The real estate project, which will be developed by Myanmar conglomerate Zay Kabar Company, which also owns and operates Mya Yeik Nyo Royal Hotel, is expected to include twelve 24-storey buildings U Thaung Htut, regional MP from Bahan constituency, told The Myanmar Times.

Zay Kabar Company received approval from the Yangon region government to develop the real estate project near the hotel area last June. However, the project has been suspended by the Yangon City Development Committee since March 14 due to its proximity to Kokkine reservoir.

“The project has been stopped after the YCDC inspected the site,” U Thaung Htut said.

“Although we welcome projects for development, we have to bar them if they affect the public or damage environment,” he added.

In fact, U Win Bo said the project was suspended due to water leakages which occurred after ground leveling works took place in the area.

He added that even though the YCDC has now ordered all development to cease for the time being, some construction work is still being carried out. “On March 24, there was some piling work that took place in the area. The authorities put a stop to it when we called them. We understand no construction will take place until the water leakage issue is solved,” he said.

U Thaung Htut said permission to resume the project will be granted only if the YCDC is satisfied the techniques used for development are safe.

Heritage site

The other concern is whether the high-rise development will obstruct views of the Shwedagon Pagoda, as the area is actually located on Yangon’s second highest point after Shwedagon Pagoda.

Locals are also concerned of the potential damage that could be done to nearby heritage sites. These include famous historical buildings such as the old Mayor’s Residence and the Mayor’s Guest House; both of which are included in the Yangon City Heritage List.

If they develop new projects in this strategic area, the development must have the public’s agreement and also needs transparency, said Daw Moe Moe Lwin, deputy chair and director for Yangon Heritage Trust (YTH).

“As there are many heritage sites at the area as well as a strategic reservoir and water pumping station, development in the area cannot be carried out as though it is private property,” she said.

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