Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — The HCM City Department of Transport has urged relevant agencies to hasten land payments to speed up projects to prevent landslides, especially in Bình Thạnh District.
Lê Hoàng Minh, deputy director of the department, said, “The most pressing issue at most landslide-control projects in the city is the tardiness in [paying] compensation.”
To resolve the problem, local authorities must work closely with affected residents to make payments, he said.
Many projects in Bình Thạnh District have been delayed for a long time due to delays in acquiring land, he said.
Some projects are 10 years old but yet to be completed, he pointed out.
For instance, work to shore up the banks of the Sài Gòn River in Thanh Đa in Ward 27 began in 2012, but only a 220-metre section has been completed, with work on the rest (447 metres) not even begun yet.
An official from the Domestic Waterway Management Agency, who asked not to be named, said this project has been suspended for three years because of difficulties in acquiring land.
Out of 133 households there, 28 have not handed over their lands due to disagreement over compensation rates, he said, adding he is not sure when the problem would be resolved.
A project near Phước Kiểng Bridge in Nhà Bè District has been delayed for 10 years, with a 220-metre-long embankment yet to be built.
The project was approved by the department in 2006 and the investor signed a contract a year later with the Site Clearance Compensation Board of Nhà Bè District to compensate 18 households.
But it has stalled due to a regulation stipulating that people owning a second house that is not affected by landslides will not be compensated. Unsurprisingly, the affected households have not handed over their lands.
Earlier this year the city planned to allocate VNĐ4 billion (US$179,080) out of the required VNĐ21.3 billion ($953,601) for this project, but the amount awaits disbursement because of the tardiness in site clearance.
Another project delayed by 10 years, again due to tardy compensation payment, is near Phước Lộc Bridge in Nhà Bè District.
Nhà Bè authorities said compensation payment has been delayed since this project is close to the proposed Phước Lộc Bridge to be built by the Urban Traffic Management Board No 4, meaning the final decision on how to do it must be approved by the city.
Most of the landslide-control projects, which were approved 10 years ago, are expected to see cost overruns because the minimum wage has increased from VNĐ350,000 per month ($15.7) in 2006 to VNĐ1,210,000 ($54.2) now.
An official from the Domestic Waterway Management Agency’s planning and investment division, who asked for anonymity, said: “The cost of the projects is expected to increase 2.5 times from the original amount.”
The official said the contractor of the Thanh Đa project suspended the work nearly three years ago and asked to pull out.
But the agency is trying to persuade the contractor to continue because it is aware a new bid would be time-consuming, the official said.
The agency has also sought the Department of Transport’s help to encourage people to move out of landslide-prone areas for safety reasons. — VNS