Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Yangon spends K1 billion to unblock drains

Work is under way to prevent further flooding in 15 Yangon townships, including the six downtown townships that are worst afflicted. City authorities are spending K1 billion to remove silt and rubbish from the drains.

Yangon Eastern district administrator U Thaung Tin Htwe told The Myanmar Times on June 21 that the work, designated a priority by Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein, was being carried out by private contractors through the General Administrative Department of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

He said the blockages were very severe. “One drain was blocked by a sofa. A drain 5 feet deep might be 4 feet deep in silt. We pay by piece-work, or hire people through the ward administration office, using the Yangon City Development Committee budget,” he said.

Western district administrator U Than Htut Oo said a committee had been set up to supervise drain clearance. “The general administrators of the townships inform us when flooding occurs so that the work can be carried out. There are eight townships in [Eastern and Western] districts. In the past, the drains were cleared and the rubbish placed near the drains, so that when the next rain fell, it washed the rubbish back into the drains. Now the contractors are required to undertake that they will remove the rubbish promptly and dispose of it properly. This reduces the risk of flooding,” he said.

Upgrading Yangon's ancient sewer system

Local MPs are reportedly monitoring the flooding situation in order to be prepared to raise the issue in hluttaw.

Outside contractors on piece-work are employed alongside ward residents, loading rubbish extracted from the sewers into gunny sacks which they then load onto trucks. The administrators pay the workers once they are sure the drains have been dug to the correct depth, said YCDC Department of Pollution Control and Cleansing assistant head U Aung Myint Maw.

Keep an eye out for tomorrow’s Weekend section for a profile of one of the workers.

Translation by Khine Thazin Han