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City leader apologises to Thủ Thiêm residents

Update: October, 19/2018 - 09:48
Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the city People’s Committee, meets with 30 representatives of the residents in the Thủ Thiêm area yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Xuân Dự

HCM CITY — A top leader of HCM City yesterday apologised to residents for the authorities’ wrongdoings in the construction of the Thủ Thiêm New Urban Area.

The Government Inspectorate has urged HCM City People’s Committee to resolve residents’complaints concerning the situation by the end of this month.

Speaking at a meeting with 30 representatives of the residents in the Thủ Thiêm area yesterday, Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the city People’s Committee, said: “The HCM City People’s Committee sincerely apologises to residents, especially households that live on about 4.3 hectares outside the planning zone in District 2’s Bình An Ward.” 

The city will set up two working groups to resolve compensation for the affected residents within this month. “All organisations and individuals in violation will be fined,” Phong said.

An extraordinary People’s Council meeting will be organised to discuss compensation for the affected residents, especially those who live outside the project’s planning zone. 

The HCM City People’s Committee has assigned the city’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment to determine the precise boundary of the land area of the 4.3 hectares.

Nguyễn Phước Hưng, chairman of District 2’s People’s Committee, said that district authorities would then specify the exact number of households located outside of the project’s boundary.

The district will review each case, especially those located outside of the project’s boundary, and offer compensation, support and resettlement support. 

“The working group will base its decisions on Article 74 of the Land Law in 2013 and give the affected residents land in other areas in the district,” he said.

Three locations, covering about 18,000 square metres, have been selected near Bình Khánh Bridge in District 2.

However, most affected residents have refused to move.

Lê Thị Cẩm Vân, a resident outside the boundary area, said: “According to the results of the Government Inspectorate, our land is not located within the project’s boundary, so we do not have to go anywhere.” 

“We do not want to move. If the authorities need to collect land for a project, it must be approved by the Government, and compensation at the current price must be given to us,” she said.

More than 100 households on 4.3 hectares outside the planning zone in District 2’s Bình An Ward (which consists of 14,500 households in Thủ Thiêm) have been complaining for years, saying their land had been cleared even though it was outside the zone approved by the Prime Minister in 1996. 

However, local authorities have not been able to identify the exact border of the 4.3 hectares outside the planning zone to decide who gets compensation.  

After four months of investigation, the Government Inspectorate last month blamed the HCM City People’s Committee, the Ministry of Construction and the Government Office for shortcomings in submitting, evaluating and advising resettlement areas in the Thủ Thiêm New Urban Area.

The Government Inspectorate’s conclusion showed that violations of site clearance and resettlement compensation procedures might have occurred.

The Thủ Thiêm New Urban Area project was approved by then-Prime Minister Võ Văn Kiệt on June 4, 1996 in Decision No 367. 

For many years, residents in the project area have been submitting complaints about land reclamation and site clearance to the city and central governments.

Covering a total area of 657ha, the Thủ Thiêm new urban area is located on Thủ Thiêm peninsula in HCM City’s District 2, which faces downtown District 1 across the Sài Gòn River.

The proposed financial district and mixed-use urban area is set to become the largest inner-city development in Southeast Asia.

To develop such a project, it has taken more than 10 years to complete site clearance of most of Thủ Thiêm peninsula, with nearly 15,000 households already resettled. 

More than 99 per cent of land in the proposed area has been cleared. — VNS 

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