The land resettlement of the New Yangon City is the first major milestone task for NYDC. New Yangon City Phase I project employs a pioneering resettlement model and process in Myanmar; first of its kind in the country. Creating a fair and transparent process and balancing it with smart city planning is essential to its success, and the success of the resettlement model will contribute to other projects around the region.
The resettlement process started the first quarter of this year. The Resettlement Committee, the Land Resettlement Working Task Force, the General Administration Department, the Agriculture Land Management and Statistic Department, and NYDC have been working together with the leadership of Yangon Region Government to conduct the process systematically and transparently.
Phase I includes approximately 18,390 acres of farmland. On two separate occasions, in 2014 and 2018, the government approved the acquisition of farmland. Farm landowners will be compensated with urban land(s) which is calculated at 20% of their farmland holdings. The five (5) resettlement areas (RA1 to RA5) were established by landowners within New Yangon City. In alignment with New Yangon City’s Masterplan, those five resettlement boundaries were adjusted by adding 25% of land for constructing basic infrastructure including roads, schools, markets, medical facilities, and parks. In February and March 2019, public stakeholder meetings were held to explain the updated boundaries and obtain feedback.
Resettlement Committee meetings were held regularly to discuss the lotto system, resettlement process, documentations, plot sizes, groupings, etc. NYDC representatives presented three lottery systems and the Resettlement Committee selected the option that was most transparent and best aligned with the public. NYDC proposed the following standard plot sizes: 20’x60’, 40’x60’, 60’x60’, 60’x80’, 80’x80’, 100’x100’ (all in feet), and large plots, which are in line with the Urban and Housing Development Department and relevant City Development Committee’s land regulation.
To ensure accurate records, each plot’s ownership detail list received from the Agriculture Land Management and Statistic Department was checked and digitalized by the Working Task Force. During the ownership verification process, the Working Task Force also asked the landowners to confirm resettlement plot sizes they wish to be awarded. For owners who receive more than eight acres of resettlement land, an extra 12% of the 20% City Land is added to their resettlement land and labelled as Government Land for construction of public infrastructure. This land will be under the management of respective City Development Committees.
After confirming plot sizes with farmland owners, the Working Task Force creates a master list for resettlement plots and submits it to Yangon Region Cabinet. Once approval is recevied, the lotto dates are set. The approved resettlement plot size list for each owner is posted at relevant administrative offices five (5) days prior to lotto dates.
On August 17 and 24, 2019, stakeholder meetings were organized to explain the lottery system. There are five steps involved:
- Announcement of dates to pick lotto in respective land sizes groups;
- Choose a representative to pick landowner’s name for following step (3);
- Landowner picks a number;
- Register the chosen number with ownership details;
- Redraw the draft resettlement maps according to the lottery number.
The area to be awarded to each farmland owner varies as their farmland holdings are different. Therefore, the draft resettlement plot map is drawn up prior lotto dates with 5% extra plots to achieve exact resettlement areas for each landowner. The draft map is pre-numbered for each plot and those will be awarded per their lotto numbers. As soon as the plot adjustment is done, NYDC explains to each owner about the location, type, and their plot numbers. The unused extra land after adjustment will be used as government-owned public land.
Once each owner’s plot size(s) is identified, the Committee submits the list to Yangon Region Cabinet. After approval, the Working Task Force prepares the temporary land ownership slips for each plot including the plot maps prepared by NYDC. On September 9, 2019, the lotto began for RA5, which is in Kyeemyindaing Township, and the temporary land ownership slips for them were issued on October 8, 2019. Lotto for remaining plots RA 1 to RA 4 is expected to start in October, 2019.
After the construction of necessary infrastructure at resettlement locations, landowners can start using their city lands with necessary permits, in accordance with rules and regulations. The resettlement process took many months, as it required the cooperation of various departments, but I am very delighted that it is expected to finish in the coming months.
Serge Pun@Theim Wai