HCM City gets tough on illegal construction

August 01, 2019 - 06:28
HCM City authorities are considering imposing stricter penalties on individuals and companies that violate regulations on construction projects.


An illegal construction site on farmland in Củ Chi District in HCM City. VNA/VNS Photo Trần Xuân Tình

HCM CITY — HCM City authorities are considering imposing stricter penalties on individuals and companies that violate regulations on construction projects.

Nguyễn Thiện Nhân, secretary of the HCM City Party Committee, said that violations ranging from illegal construction on agricultural land to building housing without permits had occurred because of lax enforcement by local authorities. 

He said that the number of violations for the first half of the year rose to 8.5 cases per day, compared to 7.8 violations per day in 2017 and 6.6 cases per day in 2018.

“Illegal residential construction on farmland has been taking place for years, but the activity is still overlooked,” Nhân said, adding that most illegal projects do not have permits.

Lê Trần Kiên, deputy director of the city’s Department of Construction, said that nearly 6,830 violations, including illegal construction of more than 2,570 residences on farmland, had occurred since 2017.   

Coordination between the city’s Department of Construction’s inspectors and district governments continues to be weak, and agencies have failed to detect violations made by land brokers, he said. 

Agencies have been urged to carefully review investors’ financial capacity before they grant licenses, and impose heavy sanctions on violators, he said.

The high demand for low-income housing has been a major cause of violations, including the sale of agricultural land for residential purposes and illegal division of land plots for sale, experts said. 

Slow implementation of social housing projects has also contributed to the problem.  

Experts pointed out that violations had occurred nearly everywhere in the city, especially in outlying areas such as Bình Chánh, Củ Chi and Hóc Môn districts, and in districts 9 and Thủ Đức. 

In addition, corruption in the field of construction is common but difficult to detect.

Recently, more than 300 officials and inspectors were found accepting bribes, but only one case has been detected and been charged with corruption, according to local media. 

Nhân told district authorities to organise special conferences by September to seek solutions to the problem. 

Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the city’s People’s Committee, also urged authorities of districts, communes and wards to assign responsibilities to appropriate officials, and dismantle illegal construction works immediately.

In addition, the Department of Justice has proposed the suspension of power and water supply to illegal constructions works.

Moreover, violators of construction regulations would not be allowed to go abroad if they are sanctioned for administrative violations, the department has proposed.

In the first six months of the year, the city had nearly 7,000 construction violations, of which illegal construction accounted for more than 50 per cent, according to a report from the Department of Construction. 

The department’s Inspectorate issued 1,156 decisions to sanction administrative violations in the period. — VNS