Authorities launched a large squatter removal operation on June 12 using a 1,500 hired workers to demolish around 4,000 squatter huts in Hlegu Township, Yangon Region.
The squatter hut village stretched for five miles along and the Yangon-Mandalay Expressway.
Yu Khaing, the regional director of the Department of Urban and Housing Development under the Ministry of Construction, said the area is state-owned and was previously an agricultural project site under the Ministry of Agriculture. After the project stalled, the land was transferred to the Ministry of Construction for another state-run project, he added.
"It's a 1,453.7-acre area in total. We plan to develop housing, world-class schools, hospitals, shops, restaurants and recreation centres there. It will be like the 115-Mile Rest Stop when it is completed," he said.
"The squatters are commercial. [They came to live here for the purpose of reselling the land]. We will systematically clear up the area. If we face any violent confrontation, we will act in accordance with the law. We invite reporters to witness the operation. It will be gently handled and transparent," the official added.
"The [squatters] started to pour in six months ago. They resold the land. Previously, the number of squatters was only around 2,000, but now it has reached about 4,000," he added.
Some of the squatters reportedly said they had been cheated into buying land plots in the area.