|The Cô Giang apartment building in HCM City’s District 1, built in 1968, is in danger of collapsing. Authorities plan to speed up the repair or demolition of old apartment buildings in the city. — VNS Photo Hoàng Hải|
HCM CITY — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has approved a plan to allow HCM City district authorities to speed up the renovation or demolition of older apartment buildings to ensure safety for residents and their property.
The city had asked the Government to permit district authorities to approve projects and select investors, according to Lê Văn Khoa, vice chairman of the city’s People’s Committee.
Under the new plan, the districts will assess the level of repair that is needed for the old buildings and draw up plans for compensation and resettlement if residents are required to move.
The city’s Construction Department will be responsible for overseeing and giving guidance to district authorities.
Districts have also been asked to carefully select investors so that complaints or disputes among all parties can be avoided.
A list of criteria for choosing investors must be submitted by district authoritỉes to the city no later than the end of July, according to Khoa.
Last month, the secretary of the city’s Party Committee, Đinh La Thăng, urged local authorities to formulate a detailed plan to speed up repair or demolition of old apartment buildings.
Delays have occurred in recent years because of disagreements among local residents, investors and local authorities.
Trần Trọng Tuấn, director of the Construction Department, said some residents who had been asked to move out had demanded higher levels of compensation.
Red tape has been another issue. If a building is to be demolished, it takes at least two years to complete administrative procedures and site clearance, according to Tuấn.
Resettlement of residents has been a problem for years, with many of them refusing to evacuate and complaining about low levels of compensation.
In addition, many investors show a lack of interest in renovating old buildings because of low profits and the slow nature of the task.
Compensation for residents is usually the main negotiating problem faced by investors.
Policies to encourage residents to move out have not been effective, and it often takes many years to evacuate older, deteriorating buildings.
According to the HCM City Real Estate Association, the city has at least 530 buildings that need to be renovated or demolished.
Thousands of households are in buildings that have leaking roofs, with water seepage weakening walls and stairwells.
The city plans to demolish 70 old apartment buildings with a total of 7,200 apartments, and move the occupants to resettlement areas.
It also plans to refurbish three old apartment buildings with total floor space of 10,000sq.m and replace 61 old buildings with new ones that will have a total of 9,870 apartments.
In the last five years, the city has demolished 10 old apartment buildings, according to the Department of Construction.
Of the city’s more than 1,200 apartment buildings, 570 were built before 1975 and are in various states of disrepair. — VNS