DP introduces proposal to shift Ulaanbaatar
In a recent meeting of the Democratic Party (DP) group in parliament, the Speaker of the Parliament Z.Enkhbold introduced a proposal to shift the centre of Ulaanbaatar city beyond the four surrounding mountains.
“The population of the capital city is located on only 8 percent of its total territory. In 2006, there was a plan to designate the centre of Ulaanbaatar as a disaster-prone region, but this plan was cancelled amid plans to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Great Mongol Empire. If infrastructure continues to be built in the current area of concentration, with a large amount of funding, it could be risky, as the entire city of Ulaanbaatar could be wiped out if there is a major earthquake. Instead, investment and infrastructure should be concentrated in the other 92 percent of the territory of Ulaanbaatar,” Z.Enkhbold said in his speech.
Although his proposal was supported by several members, in reality the trend is going the other way. Citizens are increasingly moving towards the center of Ulaanbaatar, because all the administrative organizations and major businesses are centered there, surrounded by the four mountains.
Ulaanbaatar Mayor E.Bat-Uul pointed this trend out in his speech at the meeting, and noted that “The State Administrational organizations and entities should be an example to the others. We are discussing the possibility of moving the Office of the Governor to Songinokhairkhan District. This would open the gates to attract investment to the western part of Ulaanbaatar. If state organizations and private businesses move out of the city centre, citizens will gradually follow.”
At the meeting Mayor E.Bat-Uul introduced plans to rebuild the ger districts: the “Street” project. E.Bat-Uul noted that there are currently 586,000 people living in Ulaanbaatar’s ger districts. These households produce 60 percent of the capital city’s air pollution and the ger districts are the main source of groundwater and drinking water pollution. There is therefore a clear need for the ger districts to be rebuilt.
In his statement Mayor E.Bat-Uul said that 94 percent of the households residing in the permitted areas of the capital city have privatized their lands, while around 20,000 people are living in the forbidden areas, such as on flood plains and wetlands. Under the ger district rebuilding project, land will be granted in residential areas to citizens who have no land to live on.
Mayor Bat-Uul stated that it will be possible to begin constructing new infrastructure and rebuilding the ger districts if the relevant authorities can negotiate with the citizens who have privatized their land.
In the first phase of the ger district project, separate plans for the six ger district areas were made, and a survey was carried out among the residents. According to the results of the survey, 90 percent of residents responded favorably to the plans. If the Capital City Representative’s Khural approves these plans, the tender to choose investors will be launched. Parts of the plan are set to be implemented in any case, upon the request of the residents living in Bayankhoshuu, Gandan Monastery area, Yarmag and Chingeltei District. Infrastructure works will be conducted in compliance with Ministry of Economic Development regulations.
Following the description by E.Bat-Uul of the plans, some the DP group members asked questions. For example, one member asked how to resolve the issues facing residents who live in old public apartment buildings, while other members asked how to plan the satellite cities and what methods to use to limit population density. In response, Mayor E.Bat-Uul said the government should follow certain principles and develop Ulaanbaatar in accordance with the General Plan of Ulaanbaatar, which covers the period until 2030.
The City Mayor has delivered requests to German specialists to cooperate on projects to improve the heating, repair, and maintain the old buildings, and to develop standards for sewage systems and clean water supplies for the ger districts.
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