Thursday, August 17, 2017

Nay Pyi Taw looks to attract tourists by becoming a green city

The Nay Pyi Taw Council is set to approve a five-year plan to transform the capital into a green city, council member U Tin Tun told The Myanmar Times.

The council aims to attract more tourists to the largely empty bureaucratic centre with eco-friendly measures, he said.

“We want Nay Pyi Taw to become a tourist destination because it is surrounded by adventure regions,” he said. “For example, the watershed area of Ngalike Ceek can be renovated as an attractive place for tourists.”

The city needs to have clean air, clean water, green space and a wide range of biological diversity, he said.

Experts from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are providing aid for research on clean air and water measures in Nay Pyi Taw and its vicinity, along the Bago mountain range, U Tin Tun said.

“The [JICA] team came and met with the Nay Pyi Taw Council chair to discuss providing financial and technical aid,” he said.

There are currently 1.2 million people in the city and the population will continue to grow, he said.

“So, the quality of air needs to be good,” U Tin Tun said. “And we need to consider building an electric train. In the next 15 or 20 years, the city will not be able to make improvements like it can now. We need to design policies to protect the environment ahead of time.”

Funding for the city’s greenification will be taken from the Nay Pyi Taw budget, allocated from the Union government’s fund, he said. Currently, the project is estimated to cost K10 billion (US$8.5 million).

U Myo Aung, the Nay Pyi Taw Council chair, told The Myanmar Times on July 22 that he is on board with the green-friendly plans.

“Particularly, we want to improve Zabuthiri township, but will also address other areas,” he said.

He added that State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi also wants to see green measures undertaken in Nay Pyi Taw during the National League for Democracy’s current term in office.

Though the military government had plans to make Nay Pyi Taw a green city and managed to lay the foundation, U Tin Tun said the eco-oriented vision did not come to fruition.

Nay Pyi Taw, the military-manufactured capital, became the government headquarters overnight at the end of 2005. Until 2012, much of the city was still under construction, and embassies have so far stuck to their locations in the former capital Yangon.

Translation by Thiri Min Htun