Myanmar has begun to pursue legal action against properties that have encroached onto the Bagan heritage areas, but have notably left out a number of prominent hotels. The action is ostensibly so that the complex can be listed for Unesco World Heritage status, but the question to whether this measure is effective remains to be seen.
Myanmar Times, 25 August 2015
The government has named 11 buildings in Bagan that are facing charges for flouting cultural laws but the list contains none of the well-known luxury hotels whose construction has violated the same regulations.
The action is being taken as Myanmar wages a campaign for the ancient city to be included on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites, which officials said they hoped to achieve by 2017.
U Nyein Lwin said some hotels are also escaping scrutiny despite ignoring a Ministry of Culture directive in May 2013 to limit construction to three storeys, which was revised in August 2014 to a two-storey limit.
“After these changes were made, there were people who continued building in violation of the new regulations,” U Nyein Lwin said. “Some of those who stopped are still facing prosecution, but some bigger hotels that kept building despite the laws have now opened. Our department must follow through on prosecutions according to the orders of our superiors.”