Deputy Prime Minister Phạm Bình Minh inspects plans for the TBM Tunnel which links Ba Son station and the City Opera station during his inspection of the construction of Metro Line No. 1 in HCM City. — VNA/VNS Photo Tiến Lực
HCM CITY — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Phạm Bình Minh on Monday led a Government working group to inspect components of HCM City’s first metro line Bến Thành-Suối Tiên.
Minh acknowledged the efforts of the city’s railway management board, experts, contractors, and construction units in ensuring the progress of the project but also noted some shortcomings.
He urged them to continue their endeavours and put the project into operation.
At the Hi-tech station of the line (opposite of Saigon Hi-tech Park), Bùi Xuân Cường, head of HCM City’s Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR) and the project’s investor, briefed Deputy PM Minh on HCM City’s metro projects.
The city is preparing to commence the construction of metro line No.2, Bến Thành-Tham Lương in 2021 and authorities are expediting land clearance, Cường said.
The city is also preparing to adopt an investment resolution for metro line No.5 (starting with a section connecting Bảy Hiền crossroad and Sài Gòn Bridge), which links No.1 and No.2 lines.
“So upon completion, the city’s downtown area will have three metro lines to service public transport, backed up by the city’s bus network,” Cường said.
The 19.7km Bến Thành-Suối Tiên line has reached 73.5 per cent completion, and the figure will reach 85 per cent by the end of this year, Cường told the working group.
A total of 84.3 per cent of the work for the line’s Component 2 – the elevated sections and depots – has been finished, he continued.
Deputy Prime Minister Phạm Bình Minh (centre) inspects the metro's turnstiles. — VNA/VNS Photo Tiến Lực
According to the original timeline, trains from Japan were to be transported to Việt Nam in April this year and deployed for a trial run on Bình Thái (Thủ Đức District) to Long Bình depot (District 9). However, with borders closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, 87 Japanese experts and technicians vital to the project are still not allowed to enter Việt Nam.
The new date for the arrival of the trains is late August.
Minh tasked authorities with resolving this issue to soon facilitate the entry of Japanese experts to get the project back on track.
Aside from determination to hasten the project, the investor has also paid attention to ensuring safety and convenience for commuters, Cường said.
During the inspection, HCM City’s MAUR brought up a number of issues related to official development assistance (ODA) funds for the project.
The planning and investment ministry is also asked to continue disbursing VNĐ3.6 trillion (US$155.5 million) allocated for the project as part of the 2016-20 ODA budget for the mid-term. — VNS