|A section of local canal is polluted due to the construction of a bypass route for National Highway No 1 in Tien Giang Province. — VNS Photo Cong Tri
TIEN GIANG (VNS) — Over 200 households in the Mekong River Delta province of Tien Giang's Cai Lay Town are complaining about construction of a bypass route of National Highway No 1 crossing through their community.
Residents said the slow progress of the construction has not only made travelling difficult, but also halted their irrigation system.
They noted that construction units have polluted and dried up canals because of the use of sand to level the ground. Due to this, flooding often occurs after heavy rains, while there is a shortage of water for daily living and production due to the hot sun.
For households that engage in aquaculture, a lack of water leads to pollution of ponds, which causes heavy losses from aquatic diseases.
"The fact that fish are affected by sand filling up the channel makes it's impossible for farmers to get enough water", said LeVan Hoc, who lives at Nhi Quy Commune's Quy Trinh Village in Cai Lay Town.
He proposed the project's management board compensate those people who have no way to pump water.
Nearly 100 households in Cai Lay Town's Long Khanh Commune are also in need of water for their orchards and fishing ponds. Local residents said the overflow of water and sand from construction sites on by-pass routes caused entire canal systems in Phu My and Hoa Tri villages to become shallow and polluted by high levels of alum.
"The construction of by-pass route has severely affected people's lives. Difficulties in travelling can be overcome, but getting enough water for irrigation and aquaculture is quite a challenge," said Dang Van Khoi, head of Long Khanh Commune's Phu My Village.
Most of the residents rely on planting orchards and raising fish, so many people are finding it difficult and need assistance, he said.
Le Hong Thu, Vice Chairman of Long Khanh Commune, said local authorities have proposed that the project's management promptly correct the flow of irrigation systems to assist farmers, in response to local residents' complaints.
The Tien Giang Province's Transport Department has also held talks with representatives of the project's investor and construction units, asking them to promptly repair their technical problems. However, nothing has been done to offset the local residents' grievances.
The construction of National Highway No 1 at the by-pass road crossing to Tien Giang Province's Cai Lay Town was started in January last year and built under the rules of Built-Operate-Transfer.
The by-pass route has a length of some 14 km and will meet the standard of the 3rd class road in the delta, with 2 lanes and set speeds of 80km per hour.
The project is expected to be finished by the end of this year at a cost of nearly VND1.4 trillion (approximately US$63.3 million).
Once completed, the by-pass route of National Highway No 1 at Cai Lay Town will help reduce traffic jams and minimize traffic accidents on the existing highway, while meeting the requirements of the comprehensive completion of Highway No 1. The route also is important in serving security and defence needs, as well as for improving the living conditions of residents in the area.— VNS