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Construction ministry seeks housing solution


The discussions are aimed at developing affordable housing for working-class people and temporary shelters for squatters, U Min Htain, director general of the ministry’s Department of Urban and Housing Development (DUHD), toldThe Myanmar Times on May 9.

“The minister for construction has requested temporary shelters be built for squatters,” he said. “Building rental housing depends on approval from the Union government and getting funds.”

The number of informal tenants in Yangon has surged from an estimated 65,000 at the end of 2013, and could be as high as 2 million – although no official survey has been made. Yangon needs as many as 100,000 new apartments a year to keep up with the inflow of new residents, and Mandalay also struggles to provide housing.

As activity on previous idle industrial zones ramps up the government hasbulldozed shanty towns and moved squatters out of those areas. Forced evictions in Yangon and Mandalay earlier this year led to the creation of a “new breed of roadside squatters”, according to the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission.

The Ministry of Construction’s plan for temporary shelters is still in the early stages. The ministry has requested that 200 square feet shelters be built, but the land on which to build them has not been selected, U Min Htain said.

The high number of squatters in Myanmar’s large cities like Yangon and Mandalay have caused logistical difficulties with providing temporary housing, and there are difficulties in determining who is actually a squatter and who may be trying to take advantage of the new housing policies, U Min Htain added

In a meeting held at the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry office on April 25, Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein said that squatters will be settled at locations convenient for them near industrial areas, but that the regional governments and departments will have to verify they are genuine squatters.

Supplying low-cost housing units is also a priority for the government. New Construction Minister U Win Khaing said the ministry will begin a pilot project in Nay Pyi Taw to supply apartments priced at under K10 million, which will be scaled up if successful.

Yangon Region government called a closed tender in April 2015 to build affordable housing on a plot at the corner of Mya Nandar and Shwe Li roads in Dagon Seikkan township. Three developers will build 15,000 low-cost units on the government-owned site.

U Yu Khine, director of the Department of Human Settlement and Housing Development in Yangon Region government, said that some 2000 apartments in low-cost housing projects in Shwe Pyi Thar will also be sold, “but it is too early to say how they will be sold or the specific price because the region government has not decided”.

The former government set a target of building 1 million residential units between 2011 and 2031, in 81 towns and cities across the country.

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