August 19, 2016

No life is cheap

Informal settlement, or squatting, is a nagging problem in Myanmar that persists with no resolution in sight. In the past five years, the news of evictions of thousands of squatters has hit the headlines, sparking public anger and protest against these assaults on the lives of poor people. This regularly happens around the country.
Rural people have come to see urban areas as easy sources of employment and opportunity. Analysts accuse the government of insufficient spending on rural development, pointing out that migration from rural to urban areas in the pursuit of higher living standards is the result of poverty and insufficient infrastructure.
Without reliable infrastructure, people cannot lead productive lives. People would not so readily leave their native towns if their survival and comfort were guaranteed there. It is, therefore important, to acknowledge that removing the squatters by force is not a solution to the problem.
In addition, squatters are not like moths to the flame. They knowingly occupy vacant lands, risking eviction and, sometimes, imprisonment. These informal settlers seem to have no choice but to hope for the best and prepare for the worst while earning their livings in the slums. The problem of squatters living in rural and urban slums deserves careful consideration and should come under discussion at parliament. The sooner, the better.


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