Thursday, October 27 2016


Officials must impede illegal construction

Update: October, 16/2015 - 09:11

Hong Minh

The public has given a big applause to a prompt and bold decision of the municipal People's Committee in Ha Noi last week to chop down illegally-built floors of a building that exceed the permitted height.

The 8B Le Truc Building Project in the city's Tran Phu Street has drawn lots of attention lately after it was discovered to have its height and gross area be deliberately built 16 metres and 6,000 square metres more, respectively, than it was given permission. The case even led the Prime Minister to issue a request to open a probe on the construction late last month.

Ha Noi has a history of illegal construction coming into the spotlight and raising public concerns over the excessive height of a building. Just earlier this year, the illegally-built 30th floor and other construction work at an apartment building at 93 Lo Duc Street were asked to be knocked down. Citizens in the city may also remember other cases such as the building in Dao Duy Anh Street was asked to be chopped down three floors and another in Dang Dung Street had to demolish 11 metres out of 13 illegal metres built in 2007, and the building in Nhan Hoa Street also had to cut down four storeys in 2013.

Many believe that many more buildings were in violation and needed to be chopped down. Not only in high-rise buildings which are so obvious to people passing everyday, but the violations are also happening at a smaller scale as many households, regardless of regulations and laws, try to have illegal constructions exceed the permitted area or on forbidden land. In some cases, the investigations later found that the issuance of construction permission was even wrong from the very beginning.

Statistics from the Department of Construction show that from more than 16,300 inspections on construction throughout the city in the first nine months of the year, more than 2,000 cases were discovered to violate regulations. Of those, 627 cases were illegal, more than 400 were wrongly-permitted, up to 849 cases were built on unlicensed land while the others were found not to follow the permitted design or violated environmental laws.

The department's chief inspector Nguyen Viet Dung admitted that illegally-built constructions happen quite frequently and inconsiderately.

The reality has outraged the public and raised doubt on the effectiveness of local authority's measures to thoroughly solve the situation. They wonder whether the punishments are too light or just a kind of formality.

There is an obvious trick right here. When thinking about the profit of an illegal construction in compared with the fine or punishment afterwards, what would an investor choose? You have your answer.

When being discovered, the construction is finally requested to be demolished or chopped down after some inspections and investigations. Such a wrong way around! And costly, for sure!

Why aren't such cases done right from the very beginning?

It is easy to understand why some wonder whether the local authorities have lent the violators a hand in building the illegal constructions from the beginning or not.

It is ironic that not until the investors and owners finish or already have their illegal constructions built that people see the involvement of local authorities. We are not talking about an ant or a dust. We are talking about the construction of buildings, with lots of materials including bricks, cements and soils, and lots of equipment. And they are built, not after a night but for months or even years. So why doesn't anybody notice they are there?

Obviously illegal construction in Ha Noi appears not only because citizens aren't law-abiding but also from the irresponsibility of local authorities.

The construction law states clearly that the local people's committees must take responsibility for the management of construction in their localities.

When illegal buildings are demolished or chopped down, would the responsible people feel hurt? After all, it's the people's property. And in the case of the mentioned buildings in Tran Phu, Lo Duc or Dao Duy Anh streets, the several floors that were cut-off had a big value.

Why not chop down the irresponsible people who let the violations happen from the beginning? Chopping down the illegal floors is the consequence for investors who violate the rules. But chopping down the irresponsible people is not only a warning to other violators but also helps prevent the violations.

It should not be that it takes the top leader of the Government to request a report about an illegal construction, like in the case of Building 8B Le Truc, for prompt and bold actions to take place. It should be the local authorities who take action first! — VNS

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