Land clearance delays highway projects

Update: March, 13/2014 - 08:39
Construction work is carried out on Highway 1A passing Hoang Hoa District in the central province of Thanh Hoa. Land clearance for upgrading the National Highway No 1 has fallen behind schedule. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hung

HA NOI (VNS)— The land clearance needed to be completed prior to upgrading National Highway No1 [from central Thanh Hoa Province to southern Can Tho City) and HCM Highway in Central Highland region was not finished as expected, said Transport Minister Dinh La Thang.

At a meeting yesterday to discuss the land clearance process in the projects, Thang reported that the upgrading of National Highway No1 project required the clearing of nearly 1,800 ha, but only some1,000 ha have been cleared as part of this project.

It was also reported that the project on HCM City Highway in Central Highland Region has received over 81.5 ha of the 91 ha needed.

Until early this month, only four provinces – Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Ha Tinh and Ninh Thuan – finished land clearance activities, while other provinces have completed only one-fifth of the expected work, noted officials.

Further, of VND5.8 trillion (US$275.5 million) in funding for land clearance, over VND2.3 trillion ($109.25 million) has been disbursed.

Minister Thang said that provinces faced difficulties in arranging locations and funding for resettlement areas, as well as removing existing infrastructure.

Additionally, some residents who must be relocated to make way for the transport work in some provinces have not agreed with compensation rates imposed by local authorities, Thang said.

For example, in northern Ninh Binh Province, a sub-project on a railway bridge was stalled because of the slow pace of land clearance involving over 1.25 ha to relocate four households.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc urged local authorities to take drastic measures to speed land clearance and relocation, as well as help people to understand the Government's policy on developing key transport projects.

Additionally, provinces that were unable to afford resettlement funding should report to the Government so that appropriate agencies could provide assistance.

He also asked builders to report their land clearance activities to the Transport Ministry so that funding could be disbursed in a timely fashion. — VNS