HCM City’s metro line No 1 under construction in Thủ Đức District. VNS File Photo.
HCM CITY — The HCM City People’s Committee has asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment to revise the cost of its first two metro lines.
With the (adjustment of the) costs of these official development assistance-funded projects yet to be approved, capital disbursement is being delayed.
The contractor has asked for rescheduling work on metro line No 2 between Bến Thành Market in District 1 and Tham Lương Bus Terminal in District 12 by two years.
The first route will be between Bến Thành and Suối Tiên Tourist Park in District 9.
According to Lê Văn Khoa, director of the metro line No 2 management, the line was to be completed and tested between 2020 and 2023 and operational in 2024.
But it took a very long time for approvals meaning its inauguration has to be pushed back to 2026, he said.
In February the Government instructed the Ministries of Planning and Investment, Transport and Construction and the city People’s Committee to comply with the Politburo’s instructions on revising their costs.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment was instructed to help city authorities assess and ratify the costs and report to the Standing Committee of the Government.
But five months later the People’s Committee has to hear from the ministry, Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper reports.
Khoa said bidding for the second line had been suspended pending approval of legal procedures and the next steps could be taken when the cost revision is approved.
"If it is done by the fourth quarter of this year construction could be completed on schedule in 2026," he said.
"The progress of the projects depends on cost approval."
Higher site clearance compensation
According to the Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR), tardy land acquisition is one of the major hurdles to the progress of metro line No 2.
Since the process was suspended in some districts, local authorities have returned the funds meant for paying compensation to the government coffers. They said with resettlement plans yet to be ratified by the city People’s Committee, they could not disburse the funds.
Site clearance for the second route has been delayed by two years.
To speed up work, the metro line No 2 management board has asked for doing land assessment to propose compensation rates and for relevant agencies to announce compensation procedures.
A spokesman for the management board said compensation costs are estimated at VNĐ3.5 trillion (US$150 million). —VNS.