|They have been erecting bamboo fences and placing other objects like chairs on the roads, and also carrying placards and banners in protest. — Photo Vnexpress
DONG NAI (VNS) — Frustrated and incensed residents of Huong Phuoc and Tan Cang villages in Dong Nai Province have been blocking roads used by quarries to transport rocks since Monday.
They have been erecting bamboo fences and placing other objects like chairs on the roads, and also carrying placards and banners in protest.
This is the third time that the villagers are acting to prevent trucks carrying rocks from using local roads, the previous instances happening in September and October last year.
The trucks have badly damaged local roads, covered the villages in dust, and made it risky for villagers to use the roads, causing frequent accidents, the villagers say.
Tran Tri Tue, a resident of Huong Phuoc Village, told Viet Nam News: "We started to come out on the road at 4pm on Monday, and around 5pm, a truck carrying rocks hit an electric bicycle killing Nguyen Van Dan(65) of Phuoc Tan Commune.
He added that besides the fatal accident, there have been several cases where people were lucky not to lose their lives, escaping with broken arms or legs.
The posters and placards carried by the villagers clearly express their demands. They want the quarrying companies to repair the road and water it everyday, maintain a maximum speed of 20 km/h in residential areas, and ensure that the trucks drop no rocks on local roads.
They also want trucks banned from local roads between 6pm and 8am, and for the overloading of trucks to stop.
A day after villagers began protesting, the Bien Hoa City administration convened a meeting attended by the Phuoc Tan People's Committee and all seven businesses quarrying in the commune, the committee's Vice Chairman, Huynh Thanh Phuong, told Viet Nam News.
"The meeting forced businesses to promise that they have to finish repairing the road by February 12 so that people have a new road to travel during the Tet (Lunar New Year) festival," Phuong said.
City officials have also asked businesses to meet and negotiate with villagers directly to defuse tensions. They have also suggested that smaller trucks be used to reduce impacts on local road.
Viet Nam News contacted Ho Ngoc Liep, deputy director of BBCC, a State-owned company that quarries in the area, who was at the Tuesday meeting.
Liep said: "We (BBCC) are one of the seven enterprises that are involved in repairing the road, which will cost VND4.9 billion (US$230,000). There are in total five road sections that have been damaged and we have accomplished our part, which covers three sections.
"I heard colleagues from the other six companies, 610, BMC, Tan Cang 5, Tan Cang 6, Tan Cang 2 and Tan Cang 4, say at the meeting that they are cash strapped, but would try their best to deliver on their commitment to repair the road."
However, yesterday, Tue, the villager appointed by Phuoc Tan Commune to monitor the road repairs on behalf of local communities said he was in the dark about the meeting.
He said no official or business representative has met with the protesting villagers so far. — VNS