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Yangon squatters defy authorities

Squatters on P Moe Nin Road in Hlaingthaya Township in western Yangon have told Mizzima that even if local authorities take legal action to evict them, they still have no option but to continue living on that plot of land.

Squatters begin building makeshift homes on P Moe Nin Road in Yangon's Hlaingthaya Township. (PHOTO: Mizzima)
Squatters begin building makeshift homes on P Moe Nin Road in Yangon's Hlaingthaya Township. (PHOTO: Mizzima)
“We will accept the allegations that we live in an illegal settlement,” said squatter Aye Lwin. “But we cannot leave here.”

A charity worker who has helped the squatters said that about 700 people are living “illegally” in about 400 makeshift houses on the land.

“To rent for a house, I need about 25,000 kyat [US $30] per month,” said another squatter who identified himself as Kyaw Hlaing. “We earn meager wages, so it’s impossible to rent a house. That’s why we live here.”  

Some of the squatters are local Hlaingthaya residents, but many come from outside the city and from various other parts of the country.

On January 1, municipal workers removed poles, bamboo and materials collected by the squatters to build makeshift quarters.

However, on January 31, the squatters started again at building makeshift houses. The following day, an anonymous donor sent three trucks full of bamboo to the site where the squatters used the material to construct homes, residents said.

Local residents in P Moe Nin Road said that the area was farmland until about eight years ago when the Department of Human Settlement and Housing Development confiscated the land and sold it to the Starlight Company.

On February 3, Construction Minister Soe Tint said at a meeting between ministers and media in Naypyitaw that squatters will not be permitted to live on the land in question.

He said that the authorities will not disclose in which areas new projects will be implemented, because they are afraid that squatters will immediately occupy the land.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 05 February 2013 14:30 )  

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