BURMA,MANDALAY– A proposal to build a cable car at Mandalay Hill, a landmark in the cultural center of Mandalay, has been widely criticized by locals.
The initial proposal, recently submitted by the Korean company Sky Dream Co. Ltd., to the regional government, was explained to local environmentalists, lawmakers and Mandalay Hill trustee committee members on Wednesday.
“Mandalay Hill is a city landmark, so we must not allow any project that would affect its scenery or nature,” said U Hla Moe, a local parliamentarian who was present at the meeting.
Lawmakers at the event stated that locals were worried that the cable car would alter their beloved landmark.
“The Mandalay Hill trustee committee and local environmentalists also expressed their concern that the cable car installation would obstruct the view from the hill,” U Hla Moe explained.
The project will cost about US$20 million and is expected to create job opportunities and increase visitors to the area.
The suggested base of the installation is on the western side of the hill.
Some locals criticize that the project is motivated by profit at the risk of environmental impacts, as the hill already has a staircase and road for visitor convenience.
“I told representatives of the company that the installation would surely affect the area, so the company needs to consider the historical, cultural and religious effects,” U Hla Moe added.
A company consultant said the proposal was still in its initial phase, and that two to three months would be needed to complete environmental impact assessment reports.
“We will do various tests such as soil tests, water tests and environmental impacts. The regional government will make a decision based on those reports,” said U Mahn Tun, a consultant of Sky Dream Co. Ltd.
“If the project is allowed, there will be job opportunities in both construction and operation,” he said, but that relies on government approval.
Mandalay Hill is about 800 feet above sea level and located northeast of Mandalay’s city center. The hill is a major local travel destination and tourist attraction, where visitors can enjoy a view of Mandalay, especially at sunrise and sunset.