Alley No. 127 on Cô Giang Street in HCM City’s Phú Nhuận District has been expanded from 2m to 6m, improving economic growth and the quality of life of local residents. — VNS Photo Nguyễn Diệp
HCM CITY — Enjoying a cup of hot tea and reading the morning paper inside a spacious house, Võ Thành Minh, a retired officer living in Alley No 127 on Cô Giang Street in HCM City’s Phú Nhuận District, said he now has a comfortable life thanks to a better income from his three kiosks for lease on the alley that was expanded three years ago.
That is the result of his land donation of 40sq.m to widen the alley from 2m to 6m, Minh said.
The movement to donate land for street expansion in the city began in 2000. It has become one proud achievement of the city regarding the motto ‘State and citizens work together for development’.
More than 5.3 million square metres of land worth more than VNĐ10 trillion (US$435 million) and an additional VNĐ458 billion ($19.9 million) in cash were donated by local residents to do this meaningful work.
Minh’s family is one of more than 168,100 households that have donated their land to widen small streets and alleys in the city over the last 20 years.
Theoretically, each side of the alley should give one metre of their land width for the alley’s expansion, but Minh realised that the opposite house was already quite narrow, and the donation would leave the house unfit to live in. He decided to give double so that the opposite house did not need to donate anything.
Seeing his noble deed, the other 23 households in the alley willingly donated their property.
The widen alley now help taxis, ambulances and fire-fighting vehicles enter the alley more easily, while residents’ business activities there are bustling.
“Everyone has agreed with this land donation because it is in favour of the people, bringing many benefits,” Minh said.
The success of this movement is thanks to the assistance of each individual and each family towards the humanitarian value of land donation.
Sharing a similar story, Ngô Thị Tý, a resident living in Tân Phú District’s Tây Thạnh Ward, said she donated 400sq.m of land to expand Chế Lan Viên Street to a width of 30m.
“That leads to more convenient traffic flow and increasing urban beauty for the locality,” she said.
Another case is the land donation of 147 households in Củ Chi District to help widen Võ Thị Bàng Street to six metres.
The most prominent is Bùi Văn Đèo, a Party member living in Phú Mỹ Hưng Commune and acting as a neighbourhood leader there. When donating nearly 1,000sq.m of land, Đèo simply thought that being a Party member and a leader, he should be the first to fulfill the task.
“Now the street is fully upgraded. I feel joyful as the living standard here has increased,” he said.
He also donated 2,000sq.m more for the expansion of Cánh Đồng Dược Street and other necessary public facilities.
Or there are stories of residents living along small narrow dirty alleys in Phú Nhuận District. Many families have agreed to donate land to widen their alleys to between 4.5m and 8m.
Nguyễn Thị Thanh, 68, a resident who lives on Alley 74 of Trương Quốc Dung Street, recalled that after one neighbourhood meeting, she decided to be the first to donate. Following her was the resident in the house opposite to her, and then came others along the alley.
The first construction for expansion began in 1994 and created a more modern, safer alley. Ten years later, people continued to donate land, so the small alley has become a wide street.
After Alley No 1168 on Trường Sa Street in the district was expanded from 2.5m to more than 6m, six businesses and more than 10 business have been established in the alley so far.
The lives of many families there is better thanks to leasing their houses to open offices or small shops.
Chairman of Phú Nhuận District People’s Committee Nguyễn Đông Tùng said the achievements of land donation mobilisation come from the efforts of State officials, local Party members, and the willing cooperation of residents for the sake of community development.
After 20 years, local residents have donated 20,000sq.m of land worth about VNĐ1.2 trillion to build 102 expansions, he said.
District 3 is also one of the leading localities of land donation to widen the alleys and streets. Its 95 alleys have been expanded thanks to land donations of more than 3,700 local households.
In Thủ Đức City, 13,683 households donated 410,000sq.m of land to upgrade and widen 262 streets and 638 alleys. The city plans to expand 85 more small alleys by 2025.
Meanwhile, District 7 widened 11 alleys last year and expects to upgrade at least 50 other small alleys by 2025. — VNS