A view of Long Biên bridge accross the Hồng (Red) River in Hà Nội. — Photo vnexpress.net
HÀ NỘI – Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has just issued an official note regarding the draft blueprint for a transportation and hydroelectric project on the Hồng (Red) River of Hà Nội, affirming that the Government has not started the process of approving the project yet.
The reason cited was because there is not adequate legal foundation for the approval.
The Government also asked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to co-ordinate with relevant industries and ministries to build a master plan for the Red River to ensure sustainable development.
The building of the plan must be conducted carefully with the participation of relevant localities, scientists, research organisations and agencies, the Viet Nam Fatherland Front and other social and political organisations representing the people living in the Red River area.
Xuân Thiện Co Ltd proposed a trans-Asia waterway and hydropower project planned to be implemented on the Red River at a total cost of VNĐ24.5 trillion (US$1.1 billion).
The project consists of three or six dams to be built on the river and dredging a 288-kilometer river section from Việt Trì City in Phú Thọ Province to Lào Cai City in the province of the same name.
The plan will construct seven ports along the waterway, including Phố Mới, Apatite, Qúy Xa, Văn Phú, Ngọc Tháp, Cổ Tiết, and a port north of Hà Nội.
The investor said its own finances would account for 30% of the total investment cost and bank loans would make up the remainder.
The company proposed implementing the project under the build-own-operate (BOO) format. It wanted to collect fees from VNĐ10,000 to VNĐ45,000 (up to US$2) per tonne of cargo transported on the waterway and sell electricity at an initial price of VNĐ1,900 per kWh and VNĐ3,560 per kWh (US 16 cent) later to recover the investment capital over a period of about 25 years.
The company said the project would help create a smooth waterway from Lào Cai to Hải Phòng City for vessels of 400 to 600 DWT and generate 912 million kWh per year once completed.
However, experts and residents have been protesting the project over fears for its environmental impact.--VNS