By SAW YAN NAING
The Irrawaddy News
Sixteen private companies in Burma will build more than 6,000 low-cost homes for refugees in seven cyclone-hit regions in the Irrawaddy delta and Rangoon division, according to Flower News, a Rangoon-based weekly.
The paper reported on Monday that 16 construction companies including Asia World, Htoo Trading Company, FMI, MAX and Shwe Thanlwin will build 5,700 low-cost houses for 500,000 to 600,000 kyats (US $420 to $500) each for cyclone refugees in 23 villages in six townships in the Irrawaddy delta and 350 houses in Kungyangon Township in Rangoon Division.
The six townships in the Irrawaddy delta included Laputta, Bogalay, Dedaye and Pyapon, the paper said.
Whether the houses will be provided to refugees free or some form of payment will be required is unclear.
Sources in Bogalay Township said that cyclone victims in Kyae Chaung Gyi village said they were asked by authorities to pay 1.5 million kyat (about US $1,265) for the houses built there.
Sources who work with cyclone refugees said those who want to buy the homes must pay 300,000 kyat (about $253) a year for five years.
“They [authorities] first promised refugees they would receive houses for free,” he said. “But, in fact, refugees have to buy the house. It is impossible for refugees who lost everything in the cyclone disaster to buy a house.”
“No refugees have bought a house so far. Most are staying in temporary shelters they built themselves. It is not suitable. They [the authorities] should aid the victims,” he said.
Houses have already been built in Kyae Chaung Gyi village by Htoo Trading Company, owned by Burmese tycoon Tay Za, a business crony of junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe, said the source.
Another source in Bogalay Township reportedly said that 120 houses have been built in Kyae Chaung Gyi village by Tay Za’s company, and the houses will be given to refugees free of charge. Some refugees are already living in about 20 houses in Kyae Chaung Gyi village, said the source, who is close to Htoo Trading Company. .
The state-own daily The New Light of Myanmar reported on June 30 that Htoo Trading Company planned to build more than 116 houses in Kyae Chaung Gyi village in Bogalay Township.