Thursday, September 21, 2017

Civil servants forced out of housing wait on rent payments

Government staff living temporarily in private accommodation in Mandalay say the government has failed to pay up on promised rental payments. The civil servants were forced to leave their homes in the city’s Pyi Taw Thar apartments last year while the Seittaramahi housing project is developed.

Workers hold steel reinforcing at the Seittaramahi housing project on Mandalay’s 26th Street in July 2014. Photo: Si Thu Lwin / The Myanmar TimesWorkers hold steel reinforcing at the Seittaramahi housing project on Mandalay’s 26th Street in July 2014. Photo: Si Thu Lwin / The Myanmar Times

The 112 households in the 60-year-old Pyi Taw Thar block were forced out in October 2013 and given K1.8 million each to cover rental fees and moving costs. Last October they got a further K700,000 to cover the five months to the end of March.

“Since then, they’ve given us nothing. I can’t afford the rent from my salary,” said a staffer from a government-owned bank.

A Ministry of Hotels and Tourism employee said the Department of Human Settlements and Housing Development could not explain clearly why the payments had dried up.

“They always paid us in advance before but when we asked about this month’s rent, they gave a vague response. How can we continue to stay here without paying the rent? I don’t know what to do,” he said.

The government staff concerned work for banks, the ministries of culture, education, and hotels and tourism, and other departments.

U Kyaw Kyaw Lwin, head of the DHSHD for Mandalay Region, said on April 1 that “convenient” arrangements were being made, but declined to comment further.

Construction of the Seittaramahi housing project began in November 2013 on a 5-acre site on 26th Street, between 73rd and 74th streets. It is a joint venture between the housing development department and five developers: Myanmar Mandalay, United Pacific, New Innovation, New Starlight and MGW. The department is set to receive 52 percent of the profit, while the private companies receive the remaining 48pc.

The department says it will complete 13 buildings – six condos, five housing blocks for government personnel, a showroom and an admin building – by the end of 2015.

– Translation by Thiri Min Htun