Illegal building in Yangon, constructed without approval from the government, “will be dealt with,” which could include demolishing the structures, the city’s Mayor U Hla Myint warned at a session of the regional parliament.
Despite facing legal action and the suspension of projects, the illegal construction of buildings has not declined, so the wrecking ball option is being considered now, he said.
“As the City Development Ace of 2013 has already been enacted, illegal buildings will be harshly dealt with. We are considering to go even as far as demolishing them,” U Hla Myint said.
Officials from Yangon City Development Council (YCDC) are negotiating with legal experts, regional government and other relevant organisations on the enforcement measures to address the issue.
Contractors who build without proper permits will face charges under Article 68 of the City Development Act and will have to pay fines ranging from K10,000 to K50,000 for each day during the legal proceedings. Those found guilty of violating the law must pay the fine, cease construction and face being sentenced to a jail term of up to one year.
Prior to enactment of the City Development Act, the fine was fixed at K10,000 per day. Contractors were able to pay a fine of K300,000 per month and complete construction without seeking authorisation. After construction was completed, land owners and tenants with informal deeds had to face the consequences, leading to disputes.
Although introducing severe punitive measures against illegal construction can end the practice, the risk of further increasing apartment prices should also be considered, one contractor said.
The government is trying to reduce the red tape to grant building permits, as well as field inspections, in a bid to deter illegal construction, the Mayor said.
There are currently more than 2,000 illegal buildings in Yangon with most of them located in Thingangyun, Hlaing, South Okkalapa, Insein, Mayangone, Dawbone, Sanchaung and Kyeemyindaing townships, according to YCDC.