Yangon government reveals squatter clearance plan
PUNITIVE action will be taken against those found to be squatting on state-owned and private land as of today, said Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein at a press briefing yesterday.
The chief minister added that a list of squatters will be compiled within 45 days as part of a broader plan to conduct research on the development of Yangon Region where the squatter problem is seen as a challenge by the regional government.
Although the Chief Minister revealed the existence of plan to solve the problem, he did not address particular details regarding content or implementation.
While making the squatter lists, fingerprints and photographs of squatters will be collected before issuing identity cards to them, said the chief minister, adding that transferring ownership of the cards to anyone other than the card recipient is not allowed.
A regional order will be released in designated areas to compile lists of local squatters. Police personnel will accompany teams making lists there. Those squatters who oppose the order will be arrested and charged under section 188 of the 1861 Penal Code (disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant).
According to the regional government, action will be taken against listed squatters if they are found dwelling in other places.
The regional government pledged to crack down on gangs enjoying squatting benefits.
In his address the chief minister said that listed squatters will be accommodated at temporary shelters and jobs will be found for them.
Minister for Security and Border Affairs Col Tin Aung Tun said that there would be no more room for criminals in squatting locations, which, he said, have become a haven for them.
According to sources there are more than 8,000 squatter houses in Hlinethaya Township where Yangon’s biggest industrial zone is situated and more than 600,000 people residing in them.
Squatting in Yangon is categorised into five different types in which the squatting of homeless people for housing need and squatting for ‘commercial purposes’ are included, said Deputy Director U Tun Naing Ko of Yangon Region government office, adding that the number of squatters is growing year after year.
Figures showed that there are estimated 170,000 squatters in Yangon’s north district, 93,000 in south district, 8,000 in the west district and 150,000 in the east district. 53 per cent of all Myanmar interstate migration is to Yangon, according to a report by the Social Policy & Poverty Research Group.