Friday, November 24 2017

VietNamNews

Building both full and empty in Ha Noi

Update: January, 07/2017 - 09:00
20-storeyed resettlement apartment building on Tạ Quang Bửu Street in Hà Nội is still uninhabited. - Photo tienphong.vn
Viet Nam News

A strange situation exists in Hà Nội.

There are empty buildings in one area and in many others, people live cramped and close together.

The empty buildings are even falling apart.

It would seem that paperwork problems are part of what has caused the delay in getting people to live in these buildings.

HÀ NỘI – A number of resettlement apartment blocks have been standing deserted in the capital city for many years now.

At the same time, thousands live in highly cramped, poorly maintained lodgings.

A Tiền Phong (Vanguard) report lays the blame for this paradox squarely on city authorities, saying their tardiness in resolving issues related to the resettlement houses has led to this mess.

Towering over the Tạ Quang Bửu Street in Hai Bà Trưng District, a 20-storeyed apartment building is hard to ignore, both for its size and the distinct lack of people who should be living there.

The building, with some 150 apartments, is a resettlement project built with investment from the Housing Innovation & Development Joint-stock Company.

Two years ago, the investor carried out the completion phase of this building after a hiatus of many years. Excitement and expectations ran high then, that people could finally have a place to live, even better than their previous homes in the downtown area.

But, two years on, the building is still uninhabited.

It hasn’t welcomed even one resident, but the building has begun showing signs of dilapidation - rusty fire escape, damp walls, crumbling plaster coat and stained ceilings.

Some resourceful locals in the neighborhood have availed themselves of the opportunity to use the large abandoned grounds around the building, which should have been gardens, a welcome sight in the busy city – to raise chickens and grow vegetables.

The Hai Bà Trưng District’s People’s Committee blames the situation on legal obstacles that the investor hasn’t been able to overcome.

District authorities have repeatedly pushed the municipal People’s Committee to review and solve once-and-for-all all the difficulties so that they can begin allocating the houses, but to no avail so far.

The investor, however, blames the city authorities for not having drawn up a feasible plan for people to move into the resettlement apartment buildings.

Nguyễn Vinh Quang, Chief Construction Inspector with Hai Bà Trưng District, confirmed that the project had reached 90 per cent completion, but without proper documents, the building cannot be put into use.

Resettlement building C1 in Trung Hoà, Cầu Giấy District, invested in by Vinaconex 1, has been standing idle for more than three years.

According to Đinh Hoàng Diệp, Deputy General Director of Vinaconex 1, the company has waited for several years but city authorities has yet to approve which form of investment is acceptable; whether the investor should bring out the necessary capital and the city buys the building back; or, the city will use its own budget to invest in it.

At the moment, the company has poured some VNĐ80 billion ($3.5 million) into the project. The longer it is delayed, the bigger the loss the company will have to suffer.

“We are still awaiting the People’s Committee’s go-ahead to invest in the building in the form of ‘socialisation’. However, the city must also approve the apartment price so the company can adjust [its plan] accordingly,” Diệp said.

“Before, the project was intended for civil servants, so the apartment area was bigger. But now, since the building has been earmarked for resettlement, apartments with areas larger than 100sq.m. will have to be cut back (resized). So far, the [administrative] procedures have not been done,” he added.

Appellation changed

According to the municipal Department of Construction, architectural plans for most resettlement housing projects have been approved, but implementation has been slow, mostly due to reasons outlined by Vinaconex’s Diệp.

Most projects were initially approved as commercial apartment projects or housing projects for civil servants. Conversion to resettlement housing would take a lot of time and effort.

On the other hand, many projects, initially approved as resettlement housing projects, have been converted to other types, leading to the current shortage and deserted buildings.

Another factor is financial difficulties faced by some investors, halting construction for indeterminate periods.

The above shortcomings related to resettlement housing have been pointed out during numerous meetings between the Ministry of Construction and the Hà Nội People’s Committee.

Accordingly, the Ministry proposed that the “resettlement houses” appellation be dropped completely, and that licences are not granted for new resettlement projects. Instead, a number of apartments in social housing projects can be set aside to serve resettlement programmes.

The ministry has also said that investors must pay due attention to the quality of buildings in social housing projects. The responsibility to manage and to maintain the buildings will also lie with the investor.

Previously, resettlement houses were built with capital sourced from the State Budget. Upon completion, the contractor handed the buildings over to the management board, which then passed them on to the state-owned Hà Nội Housing Development and Management Company.

The lack of unified management and unclear division of responsibilities between these agencies have seen many resettlement houses neglected.

Trần Chủng, former Director-General of the State Agency for Construction Quality Inspection under the Ministry of Construction, said that “only when the investors are held accountable for the quality of their buildings can the quality of resettlement houses be ascertained”.

The replacement of resettlement houses by social housing projects might solve the issue of apartments’ area or price, but the quality of such apartments remained a concern, as evidenced by many low-quality social housing projects in the city, he said.

“The problem can only be addressed effectively if there is a thorough and strict management right from the construction phase to post-project assessments,” he added.  – VNS

According to the Hà Nội Housing Development and Management Single Member Company Ltd., under the Hà Nội municipal Department of Construction, 173 resettlement buildings with a total of 15,000 apartments have been completed. Of these, 147 buildings with 14,450 apartments have been handed over to the company and are ready to receive residents.

The municipal People’s Committee has said that by the end of November, 36 social housing projects with nearly 20,000 apartments have been finished with a combined ground area of 1.33 million sq.m.The city has targeted building 1 million apartments in the 2012-2020 period on a 8.1 million sq.m area.

 

 


 

 

GLOSSARY

A number of resettlement apartment blocks have been standing deserted in the capital city for many years now.

If a building, like an apartment block, is deserted nobody lives there or takes care of it.

At the same time, thousands live in highly cramped, poorly maintained lodgings.

Cramped means squashed.

Maintained means kept.

Lodgings are places that people rent from others to live in.

A Tiền Phong (Vanguard) report lays the blame for this paradox squarely on city authorities, saying their tardiness in resolving issues related to the resettlement houses has led to this mess.

A paradox  is a contradiction.

Tardiness means being slack and careless.

Resolving issues means sorting out problems.

Towering over the Tạ Quang Bửu Street in Hai Bà Trưng District, a 20-storeyed apartment building is hard to ignore, both for its size and the distinct lack of people who should be living there.

If there is a distinct lack of people in a place it is very clear that there are no people there.

The building, with some 150 apartments, is a resettlement project built with investment from the Housing Innovation & Development Joint-stock Company.

An investment is a deal that involves putting money into a project in the hope of making more money from it.

Two years ago, the investor carried out the completion phase of this building after a hiatus of many years.

 An investor is someone who pays money into an investment.

Projects are often done in sections, called phases. The completion phase would be the very last phase.

A hiatus means a break or a pause. In this case it would be a long break between the first phases and the completion phase.

Excitement and expectations ran high then, that people could finally have a place to live, even better than their previous homes in the downtown area.

Expectations are things people expect of you or you expect of other people.

Their previous homes were their homes before the ones they are in now.

But, two years on, the building is still uninhabited.

If a building is uninhabited, nobody lives in it.

It hasn’t welcomed even one resident, but the building has begun showing signs of dilapidation - rusty fire escape, damp walls, crumbling plaster coat and stained ceilings.

Dilapidation means falling apart.

Some resourceful locals in the neighborhood have availed themselves of the opportunity to use the large abandoned grounds around the building, which should have been gardens, a welcome sight in the busy city – to raise chickens and grow vegetables.

People who are resourceful are able to do lots of things, including things based on new ideas they come up with.

To avail yourself to an opportunity means to use an opportunity.

The Hai Bà Trưng District’s People’s Committee blames the situation on legal obstacles that the investor hasn’t been able to overcome.

Legal obstacles are laws that get in your way when you try to achieve something.

To overcome something means to win over it.

The investor, however, blames the city authorities for not having drawn up a feasible plan for people to move into the resettlement apartment buildings.

If a plan is feasible it can work. It is realistic.

 “Before, the project was intended for civil servants, so the apartment area was bigger. But now, since the building has been earmarked for resettlement, apartments with areas larger than 100sq.m. will have to be cut back (resized). So far, the [administrative] procedures have not been done,” he added.

Civil servants are people who work for the government.

Accordingly, the Ministry proposed that the “resettlement houses” appellation be dropped completely, and that licences are not granted for new resettlement projects.

An appellation means a name or a title.

Trần Chủng, former Director-General of the State Agency for Construction Quality Inspection under the Ministry of Construction, said that “only when the investors are held accountable for the quality of their buildings can the quality of resettlement houses be ascertained”.

To be held accountable for the quality of buildings means to have to answer for their being of poor quality if that is found to be the case.

“The problem can only be addressed effectively if there is a thorough and strict management right from the construction phase to post-project assessments,” he added.

An assessment is a test to give something a rating, or a mark. A post-project assessment is one that is carried out after a project has been completed.     

WORKSHEET

Find words that mean the following in the Word Search:

  1. The state walls can be in, in a dilapidated building.
  2. Birds that are being raised on an abandoned site.
  3. The currency of Viet Nam.
  4. The status in Viet Nam of the city of Ha Noi.
  5. The number of storeys in the apartment building in Tạ Quang Bửu Street in Hai Bà Trưng District.

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© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Damp; 2. Chickens; 3. Dong; 4. Capital; 5. Twenty.

 

 

 

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