Myanmar is drafting an urban development plan under the leadership of a planning commission, headed by President U Thein Sein, giving priority to two major cities of Yangon and Mandalay, of which Yangon was once a model city in Asia.
The drafting of the plan, which also involves towns and villages, is being implemented in line with the government's reform strategy.
The addressing of the issues of insufficient electricity, insufficient safe drinking water, incomplete sewage system, poor transportation infrastructure and air pollution facing these two cities are being called for.
The president told a recent meeting of the commission that the government's efforts alone is not enough for these measures, appealing for investment, low-interest loan and aid from foreign countries in terms of capacity building, capital, technology and human resources.
Pointing out that the country could not stand alone in the global village, the president stressed the need to establish amicable relations with every country regardless of the East or the West.
He urged respective region or state governments to draft Municipal Acts in accordance with the constitution, saying that budget allotment and taxation must be carried out and foreign loan and aid be distributed equally to each region or state.
In Myanmar, urbanites constitute 32.6 percent of the whole population with Yangon and Mandalay population making up a total of 20 percent and claiming 30 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
Yangon is the former capital port city, while Mandalay is the second largest city lying at the center of the country and remains a commercial hub for trade with neighboring China in the northeast and India in the northwest.
Meanwhile, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is also drafting a 40-year Yangon City Upgrading plan, aimed at helping boost the backward former capital city of Yangon to a city having modern urban characteristics.
The 40-year draft plan, expected to be completed by 2013, includes upgrading the city's drainage system, urban transportation, drinking water system, Thilawa Special Economic Zone and port terminals.
According to the finding, only 60 percent of Yangon's over 6- million population can get enough water supply and more water sources are being needed.
Besides, overpasses are being planned in some traffic junctions in a move to ease traffic jam.
These traffic junctions include Hledan, Shwegondaing, Tarmwe and Bayintnaung where traffic congestion occurs almost all day round. Of them, overpasses at Hledan and Bayintnaung have begun construction.
The 40-year upgrading plan also cover upgrading port terminals at Yangon Port in line with international standard in collaboration with private entrepreneurs under joint-venture basis or build-operate-transfer (BOT) system.
With a population of over 6 million and an area of 795 square kilometers, Yangon city is demarcated as 45 townships, of which 33 represent the municipal area.
As part of the development plan, Myanmar entrepreneurs are making a preparatory move to set up a new satellite town in Mandalay.
The Mandalay new satellite town to be set up on a land plot of 8,910 hectares is being projected by a public company.
So far, the company has seen 3,000 prospective shareholders to join the project lying in Mandalay's Tada Oo township, 8.8 kilometers from the Mandalay International Airport.
The project has prompted the rise of land prices in Tada Oo to 3.5-30 million Kyats (4,022-34,482 U.S. dollars) per acre (0.405 hectare), the report added.
Rich with cultural heritage, Mandalay stands as the last royal capital of Myanmar.
With an area covering 113 square-kilometers, Mandalay has now become the country's economic and cultural hub in the northern part.
The city, located 716 km north of Yangon on the east bank of the Ayeyawaddy River, has a population of nearly 1 million and is also the capital of Mandalay region.
Being a major trading and communications center in northern and central Myanmar, most of Myanmar's external trades to China and India go through Mandalay.