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HCM City fails to halt illegal mining on rivers

Update: September, 24/2015 - 09:06
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The HCM City Boder Guard seized illegally sand exploitation in Can Gio District, HCM City. Illegal sand mining in rivers and changes in the Sai Gon River's flow have been identified as the main causes of the erosion— Photo congan.com.vn

HCM CITY (VNS) — Despite HCM City authorities' best efforts to speed up projects to prevent erosion of land along rivers and canals, it continues to progress at a snail's pace due to delays in site clearance and shortage of funds.

Illegal sand mining in rivers and changes in the Sai Gon River's flow have been identified as the main causes of the erosion, which has already claimed many houses and much land along the river.

The Thanh Da Peninsula in Binh Thanh District has witnessed the most serious erosion. In the last two years relevant agencies have proposed projects to combat erosion in the area, but none have been completed.

Under one of them, segment 1.2, 42 metres of embankment construction has been delayed due to tardy site clearance, and 220 metres under segment 1.4.

According to the HCM City Inland Waterway Management Agency, which manages the city's water erosion projects, segment 1.2 (from Kinh Bridge to Oil and Gas Guest House in Ward 27 of Binh Thanh District), has been allocated VND19.5 billion (US$870,000) for a 342m embankment.

Work began in July 2012 and was scheduled to be completed in June 2013.

Due to delays in acquiring land and other difficulties, the project was extended thrice to December 2014, but the 42 metres remain unfinished because five households living on the site have refused to move out.

Other delayed projects include one to check erosion near Phuoc Loc and Long Kieng bridges in Nha Be District and another to build an embankment at the confluence of the Ben Luc and Ly Van Manh canals in Binh Chanh District.

Why the delay?

A spokesman for the board for compensation payment was quoted by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper as saying that a number of people whose lands and houses need to be acquired for the projects refused to move claiming the compensation was not enough to buy a new house.

Some of them do not qualify to buy land with a house foundation from the city due to reasons like lack of ownership documents for their property, he said.

The city Department of Transport has co-ordinated with district authorities to remove hindrances to site clearance.

A notice was issued by the department and the Binh Thanh District People's Committee saying the latter is responsible for moving out the households and acquiring the lands needed for segments 1.2 and 1.4 by October 2014. But nothing has happened yet.

The delay in the project is causing losses to the city and contractors.

There is pressure on the department to get the district to acquire the lands as soon as possible, with the project managers saying segment 1.2 would be completed within 60 days of getting the land and segment 1.4 in eight months.

According to the HCM City Riverway Management Division, as of late 2014 there were 36 spots highly vulnerable to erosion in Districts 2, 12, Thu Duc, Binh Thanh, Cu Chi, Nha Be, Can Gio, and Binh Chanh.

Nha Be topped with 15 spots along the Phuoc Kieng, Muong Chuoi, and Kinh Rivers and several Canals.

Binh Thanh District had five spots along the Sai Gon River and Thanh Da Canal, and Thu Duc District had three.

Eight more have been added to the list in 2015, including four places in Cu Chi District and one each in Districts 2, Can Gio, Thu Duc, and Nha Be.

A spokesman for the department said illegal construction along river banks has narrowed flows, exerting pressure and thus causing the collapse on Xom Cui Canal in Binh Chanh District.

Meanwhile, large-scale sand mining in the Sai Gon and Dong Nai Rivers have changed their flows and caused mud-sand imbalance in their beds, causing banks to collapse in many places. — VNS


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