Shacks on Đôi Canal in HCM City's District 8 have yet to be relocated. Photo: sggp.org.vn
HCM CITY — HCM City's plan to relocate more than 20,000 shacks on and along its canals between 2016 and 2020 has lagged behind schedule because of a lack of funds and investors’ interest.
Many of these shacks can be seen along Đôi Canal near the Y-shaped Bridge or Nguyễn Tri Phương Bridge in District 5. Thousands of locals are living there with a lack of electricity, clean water and fire protection.
On No 1076 Alley on Phạm Thế Hiển in District 8, many shacks have been built on canals whose water is black and putrid, according to Sài Gòn Giải Phóng (Liberated Sài Gòn) newspaper.
Bùi Thị Tuyết, 70, said she had been relieved to hear that HCM City would clear these houses along the canals and upgrade the area, but it has been five years and nothing has been done.
According to District 8 People’s Committee, District 8 has 12,389 shacks with more than 52,500 people. Of the figure, 6,400 shacks are on shore and nearly 4,000 are partly on shore and on the canal.
About 2,000 shacks on shore are in desperate need of relocation, it said.
Most of the shacks on and along the canals were illegally built and lack basic living conditions. Wastewater is discharged directly into the canal, causing an increase in pollution in the area.
HCM City has about 21,851 houses on and along canals, mostly concentrated in districts 4, 7, 8 and Bình Thạnh.
Between 2016 and 2020, HCM city planned to relocate more than 20,000 shacks and provide a better life for those living along the banks of the canals. However, only 7,260 shacks have been relocated, or only slightly more than 36 per cent of the target.
According to the Department of Construction, the city needs to implement 65 projects, at a total cost of VNĐ44 billion for site clearance and resettlement.
A lack of time and funds, which have been used for traffic congestion and flood control projects, has caused the relocation project to lag behind schedule.
“HCM City does not have much public land of great value to investors if they were to join the project,” an urban expert said.
Chairman of the HCM City Real Estate Association Lê Hoàng Châu said the large-scale relocation plan requires a lot of capital resources, but State funds and private capital cannot be easily mobilised now.
Investors also need to keep in mind the construction of resettlement houses as well, but lack of land and infrastructure has caused more concerns.
Many real estate firms have conducted surveys and detailed plans to relocate shacks along the canals. However, challenges with the land fund and resettlement policies have caused them to refrain from getting involved.
“In addition to contributing something to society, every business would like to make a profit. It is crucial for authorities to come up with better policies to attract investors,” a director of a real estate business said.
Nguyễn Minh Hoà from the HCM City University of Social Sciences and Humanities said HCM City cannot raise more capital in from ODA resources, adding that calling for funding in the form of Public Private Partnerships has encountered many problems.
Relevant authorities need to expand the clearance corridor, create a large commercial land fund, and then auction it for money to build quality infrastructure and housing for resettled residents.
“HCM City needs to come up with a policy to support and compensate households with a large number of members to solve the problem of resettlement,” Hoà added. — VNS