Subway plan for Nay Pyi Taw too expensive, says minister
September 5 - 11, 2011
Government ministers speak to journalists at a meeting in Nay Pyi Taw on August 28.
THE government has shelved plans for a subway system in Nay Pyi Taw because it believes the line is neither necessary nor cost effective, the Minister for Railways said last week.
“It is true that survey work has been already done but we have no plan yet to build a subway system in Nay Pyi Taw. Building a subway costs a lot of money and the government cannot afford to build it,” Union Minister U Aung Min told journalists in Nay Pyi Taw on August 28.
The minister did not say which company had conducted the survey work or when it was completed.
But U Aung Min said the metro line was not needed and would not be economically feasible anyway.
“Nobody would use the metro in Nay Pyi Taw. Due to its [low] population density, it doesn’t need a metro line. No foreign company would agree to build it under a build, operate and transfer (BOT) system because there’s no way they could make a profit,” he said.
The city covers an area of about 7000 square kilometres and has an official population of more than 924,000.
He said the survey was conducted in case the need for a subway arose in the future.
“When we want to built it in the future, we can … as we already did the surveying works,” U Aung Min said.
U Aung Min said, however, that the government would consider building an express rail line from Yangon to Mandalay through Nay Pyi Taw in coming years.
“We might build an express line from Yangon to Nay Pyi Taw and Mandalay if we can get the technology from China after they build the Muse-Kyaukpyu railroad. By working together on the construction of that railroad, we can learn their technology, and then we can build the line ourselves,” he said.
Construction of the 800km railroad between Kyaukpyu in Rakhine State and Muse on the China-Myanmar border is expected to start in December. The US$20-billion project will be funded by China and operated under a 50-year BOT contract, the minister said.
The existing railway line between Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw is about 375km long and a one-way trip takes about nine hours. But the minister said trains on an express line would be able to travel more than 200 kilometres an hour, reducing the journey time to as little as two hours.
“It is impossible for us to build a high speed line [at the moment] due to its high technology … it is not yet within our reach yet. But an express line is okay and we are waiting for the right time. As soon as we get the chance, we will transfer the technology and build it,” U Aung Min said.