Makeshift businesses clutter new urban areas
by Thu Hien
HA NOI — The cries of shop vendors ring out across a playground in the Nam Trung Yen urban area in Cau Giay District, tempting residents with the promise of delicious food.
|A temporary market in Ha Noi's Nam Trung Yen urban area. Temporary markets, shops and parking lots are invading public spaces in the city's new urban and resettlement areas, partly due to a lack of supermarkets and other services in these areas. — VNS Photo Thu Hien
These shops are equipped with just a table or shop window to display fresh meat, vegetables, fruit and hot food, including soup, sticky rice, bread and even coffee.
Rubbish from these shops is littered across the playground, which is also used as a car park.
This is not a rare scene. Temporary markets, shops and parking lots are invading playgrounds, pavements, corridors and other public spaces in the city's new urban and resettlement areas.
Pham Sy Liem, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Federation of Civil Engineering Associations said: "Many old residential quarters were pulled down and replaced by new urban areas so that people's living conditions and safety could be improved."
"However, after several years, these new urban and resettlement areas seem to be no better than the old ones. The lack of public services such as supermarkets, convenience stores and restaurants seem to be the main problem."
He said temporary markets had been set up illegally in public spaces as a result.
Nguyen Thi Thuy, a resident in the Nam Trung Yen urban area said they had lived without supermarkets and stores for a long time. Some of them had decided to set up temporary shops in the grounds of their buildings, selling fresh meat and vegetables, and more and more shops and services were being set up, infringing on public spaces.
She said that residents at first found it comfortable and convenient, but that convenience had been replaced by the annoyance of noisy trading and cluttered public areas.
Cars and motorbikes were also parked haphazardly around their buildings, she added.
Le Tho Son, who lives on the fourth floor of an urban tower block in My Dinh, said his neighbours had started to sell food and other goods in front of their own apartments along public corridors.
He said he regretted paying billions of dong to move from his old residential quarter in Dong Da District to this area.
Son and Thuy agreed these temporary shops and services had made their living environment polluted and unsafe.
Nguyen Dinh Thanh, of the management board of Nam Trung Yen Urban Area said: "We tried to ask these shops to close, but it is impossible for us to enforce it."
"We also have no legal authority to take stricter measures."
To partially solve the disorder, Cau Giay District's People's Committee has allocated land to set up a temporary market which does not disrupt people's everyday activities while serving local demand.
Tran Hop Dung, head of the Ha Noi Construction Department's Management Unit said Construction Ministry regulations on residential buildings stated that people were not allowed to make private use of public space in residential buildings including playgrounds, pavements and corridors.
Nevertheless, no specific punishment measures for violators were mentioned in the regulations. so even when violations were detected, they went unpunished, he said.
However, Dung and Liem agreed that disciplinary action was not an effective answer to the issue.
Liem said it was necessary for investors to make legal commitments to build infrastructure for their developments, so facilities were in place for when new residents moved in, including shops, schools, hospitals and parking lots. — VNS