Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – Construction inspectors in Ha Noi and HCM City have allowed several violations to occur, indicating corruption as well as inefficient administration, officials admit.
A report in the Tiền Phong (Vanguard) Newspaper also cites experts and officials as calling for stricter punishment across the board to deter violations.
There are 1,600 construction inspectors working in Ha Noi from the municipal to district and commune levels.
Hoàn Kiếm District has the highest number of inspectors with 78 officials in charge of 18 wards, compared to just several dozen in other districts.
An inspector in the city said their responsibilities are to supervise construction work, identity violations and report them to People’s Committees of districts and wards for follow up action.
However, they do not always accomplish their assigned tasks, he admitted.
On Alley 8, Lý Nam Đế Street, authorities have licensed a seven-floor building, but ten floors have been constructed. Nothing has been done about this for a long time.
Commune level administrations as well as construction inspectors often ignore violations by investors and even help them, the Tien Phong report said.
It quoted Phạm Tuấn Long, Deputy Chairman of the Hoàn Kiếm District People’s Committee, as saying the People’s Committees at the commune level hold responsibility for such violations.
Construction violations are not severely punished because the co-ordination between construction inspectors and local authorities is not efficient, said Nguyễn Nguyên Quân of the Hà Nội People’s Council.
However, Phạm Sỹ Liêm, former Deputy Minister of Construction, had some tough questions.
“What are the reasons for ineffective work by construction inspectors? Should it be blamed on a lack of professional capacity or are there other motives?” he asked.
If there are “group benefits” involved, tougher measures should be taken, he said.
To improve the situation, the Hà Nội People’s Committee has asked district administrations to directly oversee the work of construction inspectors in their localities.
Under the new arrangement, the Hà Nội Department of Construction would manage the salary and wages of inspectors while district administrations will assign duties and manage their work.
However, district leaders have complained that the arrangement can cause management overlaps. For instance, they’ve said that it is not clear which agency is authorized to punish construction inspectors for any violation.
Nguyễn Hoài Nam, head of Judicial Affairs Department of the Hà Nội People’s Council, said current management was not effective and did not “uphold” responsibilities of inspectors.
He suggested that the urban management departments at district level be asked to supervise the teams of construction inspectors.
Professor Đặng Hùng Võ, former Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, said if the city’s target is to tighten urban management and eliminate construction violations, “there should be stronger mechanisms to penalize leaders of local administrations if they engage in loose management and ignore violations.”
Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper report said that in HCM City, construction inspectors impose very small penalties on violations by residents when build houses, like adding unauthorized toilets.
They are also very slow in dealing with violations in major works like apartment buildings.
Trần Trọng Tuấn, head of HCM City’s Construction Department, said that between 2013 and 2015, 188 construction inspectors were penalized, with 187 receiving reprimands or warnings. Only one was dismissed.
This shows violations have not been strictly punished so far, he said, adding that henceforth, the department would seriously punish bribery cases and not spare anyone, whether it was construction inspectors or administration leaders.
The department manages 1,041 construction inspectors at present. -- VNS