A deteriorating old tenement on Võ Văn Kiệt Street in HCM City’s District 1. — VNS File Photo
HCM CITY — Three years after a five-year plan to renovate half of the 476 old tenements was announced by HCM City authorities, only a fraction of them have been refurbished or rebuilt, causing suffering to many people living in them.
According to the city's Department of Construction, last month 96 households in an old apartment block at 155 – 157 Bùi Viện Street were told to find new accommodations after an inspection had found it could collapse at any time.
But many of the households have yet to move, saying investors have yet to be identified for the renovation.
Most families living in the tenement support the plan for renovation, but are wary after knowing that people who moved out of other similar apartments are still awaiting completion of the renovation work after more than two years.
Lê Duy Mạnh, who owns an apartment at the Bùi Viện Tenement, said authorities should clearly inform tenants about the renovation schedule and when they could return to their homes.
Huỳnh Tâm, another resident, was quoted by Người Lao Động (The Labourer) newspaper as saying she would not leave the place for fear the renovation would take “a century”.
All 10 households living in the Trúc Giang Tenement in District 4 are willing to move but claimed they cannot afford it.
Residents of Nguyễn Thiện Thuật tenement in District 3 interviewed by the newspaper said they received a notice to move out to make way for renovation 10 years ago.
But recently the district People’s Committee said it is still looking for investors to renovate the Bùi Viện Tenement.
Phạm Thị Bạch, who lives in the Ngô Gia Tự Tenement in District 10, said to knock down the old tenement for reconstruction, authorities must get every household on board.
But people living on the ground floor are reluctant to move because their apartments double up as shops, she said.
Lê Thị Thu Nga, Deputy Chairwoman of the District 10 People’s Committee, said 25 out of 40 old and deteriorating tenements have been renovated to ensure occupants’ safety.
Relevant agencies have speeded up relocation of tenants and demolition of old tenements, but finding investors to rebuild them is harder, she said.
Lê Hoà Bình, director of the city's Department of Construction, said the department has identified 474 old tenements which require renovation, but so far only 113 have been taken up for work while 35 others would be done in the second half of this year.
But it is impossible to get all households living in them to agree, he said.
He said instead of seeking investors and making them negotiate with tenants, authorities could cancel the occupants’ land use rights, pay them compensation and take over the lands.
This method has been used by the District 7 People’s Committee at two decrepit tenements, he said. — VNS