May 13, 2017

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Dilapidated eyesores, illegal annexes and canopies and urbanization problems

  • Khin Maung Oo
    With the increasing population of Yangon City dwellers since several decades ago, successive governments have experienced urbanization problems. Though the previous government tried to solve these problems, huge problems still remain. So, the incumbent government was left with a legacy of problems in a situation that cannot be solved easily. These problems cannot be removed in a short period of time, even if the legendary hero Hercules was able to clear up dung piled up for 30 years in the Augean stables, in a day. Among the problems, the most pressing problems are transportation, housing problems and increasing crimes. In case people demand that these problems be solved right away under the current situations, their demands will surely be negative ones. In fact, the government alone cannot solve these problems. We must join our government’s activities, assuming that these are concerned with all of us. With our willing contribution, we succeeded in helping the government to launch many campaigns such as YBS system, making vendors sell on designated places systematically, suppressing crimes, taking actions against those who commit bribery and corruption and making departments work with greater efficiency.
    Yet, there is still a threatening problem for our government to solve urgently, without any hesitation. It is none other than housing plans for the urban populace. Nowadays, there are many housing estates of high quality emerging before our eyes, under the urban renewal or regeneration plan. To put it simply, ordinary citizens cannot afford to live in these places. Meanwhile, there are many people still living in poor conditions in urban slums. With the increasing population, we need to implement urban sprawl, that is, the spread of city buildings into the countryside. Now, many low-cost housing programs are being implemented. We will have yet to take time for all with no fixed abodes to be able to reside in apartments or low-cost houses of their own.
    Apart from those living in grand luxury buildings of Occidental architecture, most of the people are living in old apartments built two or three decades ago. Due to utilization of inferior construction materials, lack of engineering knowledge and being age-old buildings, these are no longer fit for living. Anytime, they can be subject to disasters. Some buildings are found to be in severe stages of dilapidation. In case of a moderate earthquake, not to mention a strong earthquake, these buildings will just crumble like a stack of cards. As for our authorities concerned, the problem should not be condoned.
    Ultimately, I want to suggest that illegal construction of annexes and canopies built to solve the narrow living spaces in their homes be cleared away urgently, because these are hindrances, especially for traffic. Some people are excessively taking advantage to extend their building so that pedestrians have no alternative but to walk on the road. Had these problems been solved, the situation would have improved to a considerable extent. Public interest should have priority over individual interest. We welcome a prompt response from our authorities concerned.

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