Viet Nam News -
HCM CITY – HCM City authorities’ efforts to relocate people living in slums along the city’s polluted canals as part of its urban upgrade programme faces a major hurdle: most of the slum dwellers do not want to move since their livelihoods are dislocated.
Several apartment blocks built for people whose shanty houses were removed remain unoccupied.
The Vĩnh Lộc B residential area in Bình Chánh District with around 2,000 apartments and 500 pieces of land is less than 15 percent occupied five years after completion.
Trần Đức Tài, who moved there from his slum, said he and others would have preferred to stay back – some have moved out of the new place -- since they could at least earn a living there despite the poor living conditions.
Many said after moving into relocation areas, their lives have become hard.
Trần Văn Bình, another resident of Vĩnh Lộc B, said before moving to the new area people earned a living by working as porters, peddlers, and scrap collectors, work they cannot find now.
Many are worried they cannot earn enough to feed themselves and their families.
Besides, they have to pay for parking, maintenance, apartment services, fees they did not have to in the past.
Speaking at a recent meeting with people living in Vĩnh Lộc B, the city’s People’s Committee chairman Nguyễn Thành Phong instructed local authorities to create the most living favourable conditions there.
He said disadvantaged people should be given loans on easy terms to buy housing in resettlement areas, adding the administration’s policy is that life in the new area must be as good as or better than their old one.
There are around 20,000 shanties, all along the city’s canals and mostly in Districts 8 and 4, and the city transport department said it would need hundreds of millions of dollars to relocate all their inhabitants. District 8 accounts for 12,369 shanties.
It is feared that the number could be much higher because there are 67 canals in Districts 7, 8 and 12 with slums that lack statistics.
In the next five years authorities plan to relocate around 10,000 households in slums to new residential areas.
The construction department has said it plans to remove all slums to clean the city’s canals and reduce flooding and pollution. — VNS