YANGON, 31 August 2015: Myanmar Investment Commission says the relocation of five cancelled real estate projects planned for sites close to Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda will be finalised by the end of the year.
Irrawaddy media quoted MIC secretary, Aung Naing Oo, saying investors would be given alternative plots in Yangon to compensate for the government’s cancellation order last July.
However the news channel said government officials were demanding that developers first find suitable sites by negotiating with government departments that own most of the prime spots in the city.
“If they can reach agreements on suitable plots then the ministry and companies will have to negotiate compensation. It will take time, but should be completed this year,” he said.
The five projects, including the high-profile Dagon City 1 luxury condominium, were suspended by the MIC in January pending a review. Critics claimed the developments would cause structural damage to Shwedagon Pagoda, the country’s most sacred religious site.
They would also obscure the view of the pagoda for visitors as they approached the area around the religious site.
Tourism officials would like to see the entire area around the pagoda cleared, landscaped or at least preserved. That would require a ban on new construction and restrictions on how building owners can remodel structures within a certain distance of the national religious monument.
Other affected developers are Shwetaung Development, Adventure Myanmar Tours and Incentives, Thukha Yadana and Marga Landmark Development.
Shwedagon Pagoda is the most popular tourist attraction in Yangon and attracted 500,000 foreign visitors in 2014 up 60,000 on visits in 2013.