Yangon Government not Budging on Water Festival’s Stage Ban for commercial pandal 


Despite criticism over the ban on commercial pandals, or stages, at the annual water festival last year, the Yangon Region government will not reconsider its decree for the upcoming Myanmar New Year festival, held annually in mid-April.

Yangon Mayor U Maung Maung Soe told The Myanmar Times yesterday that the Chief Minister will not allow commercial pandals to be built as people had to pay a lot of money to enjoy the water festival at these pandals.

“We won’t change our plan on the commercial pandals. But we have to think about them and how we should allow these pandals,” said U Maung Maung Soe.

According to the Yangon government, the first meeting on the pandals issue was held last week and the Chief Minister agreed to allow commercial pandals at Maida grounds this year.

“I think commercial pandals can be built at the Maida grounds and people can go there if they can pay a lot of money. But we haven’t decided on that yet,” said the mayor.

Regional MP U Kyaw Zeya from Dagon township said the regional government has to discuss the Thingyan issue on March 20, adding that the MPs were not aware of the Maida grounds pandal.

“Mainda grounds is in my constituency but I didn’t know about a pandal. I will ask the regional government what the plan is,” he said.

Commercial pandal organisers are not keen on the regional government’s plan because the Mainda grounds is unable to accommodate many pandals and transportation is no better than at Kaba Aye Pagoda Road.

The Yangon City Development Committee will build a pandal in front of City Hall, just as it did last year.

In 2016, the regional government banned for-profit pandals, citing concerns over water use, crime and growing commercialisation of the festival.

Licences were only issued to businesses or individuals to erect pandals in front of land that they own, and the government did not allow pandals to be built at Pyay road, Kaba Aye Pagoda road and around the Kandawgyi Park.

U Min Thu, a pandal organiser, said organisers were awaiting for instructions and permits to be isssued  to erect pandals at Kaba Aye Pagoda road.

“Commercial pandal organisers haven’t made any decisions on whether to build pandals because we are afraid of losing money. That’s why we are waiting the instructions,” he added.


Source: The Myanmar Times

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