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HCM City's major environment and sanitation project face slow progress

Update: February, 19/2021 - 00:00

 

Nhiêu Lộc-Thị Nghè Cannal in HCM City. — VNA/VNS Photo Mạnh Linh

HCM CITY — A project to improve the environment and sanitation in HCM City’s District 2 worth more than VNĐ11.13 trillion (US$495 million) is lagging well behind schedule, requiring authorities’ interventions to speed up.

In March 2015, the State Bank of Việt Nam and the World Bank signed agreements for a total of US$450 million in loans and credits to Việt Nam to improve HCM City’s environment and sanitation. 

The funding for the Second HCM City Environmental Sanitation Project was expected to improve the environment by treating wastewater, strengthening institutional capacity to manage sanitation and wastewater services, and increasing public awareness of the benefits of improved sanitation practices.

The project includes a treatment plant to treat wastewater collected in the Nhiêu Lộc-Thị Nghè basin and from parts of District 2. The plant will treat untreated wastewater that is currently discharged into the Sài Gòn River.

Through the project, sewer networks and house connections to the network will be installed in parts of District 2. The project will also provide technical assistance to improve sanitation and wastewater management practices in the city. 

Of the total $495 million costs, $250 million is financed through a loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and a $200 million credit through the International Development Association (IDA). HCM City is to provide $45 million from its resources for the project.

According to the project investor, the city’s urban infrastructure construction investment projects management unit, to date, only 52 per cent of the work has been completed and 56.7 per cent of the funding disbursed.

The project consists of 27 bidding packets, with eight relating to construction and installation, 16 relating to consultation and three packages relating to purchasing.

However, according to the project investor, many major packages of construction are behind schedule.

For example, the construction of a sewage route to collect wastewater began in February 2017 and was expected to be complete in December 2019 but so far, only 80 per cent of the work is finished. 

The construction of Nhiêu Lộc – Thị Nghè Wastewater Treatment Plant, worth $307 million, was expected to start in March 2019 but land clearance only started this year.

Problems during bidding and compensation for relocating people living in construction areas for the project were to blame for the delay, according to the project investor.

The investor has asked for support from the municipal People’s Committee to speed up the project.

It wants the city’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment to consult and assist the constructor to soon get a surface to start the construction of the Nhiêu Lộc – Thị Nghè plant.

The city’s Construction Department was asked to assess technical designs of items included in the plant such as foundations, canal adjustments and anti-flood work.

As the World Bank has agreed to extend the project until June 2024, the project investor suggested the city People’s Committee propose the Prime Minister adjust the investment decision so the project could get funded until 2024. — VNS

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