File photo of residents affected by the Thu Thiem New Urban Area development project in District 2 watching a meeting with the HCMC government on TV in November 2018 – PHOTO: VNA
In a recent statement, the Government Office announced an instruction by Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh to resolve the complaints, denunciations and petitions of many residents in District 2 regarding the Thu Thiem urban area development project.
The Deputy PM asked HCMC, in coordination with the Government Inspectorate, the Ministry of Construction and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, to look into the complaints over the five blocks in the wards of An Khanh, Binh An and Binh Khanh.
These agencies were told to engage in more dialogues with these residents, and then take appropriate steps. The results must be reported to the prime minister by June 1.
The Government Inspectorate said in a report that it had set up an inspection team to address the complaints, denunciations and petitions and had later released its September 2018 findings. At the same time, the city had held many sessions with the affected households.
However, these residents did not agree and frequently visited the private homes of State and Party leaders as well as the headquarters of central agencies in Hanoi, carrying banners and using loudspeakers to express their opposition to the inspectorate’s inspection findings.
Citizens claimed that the inspectorate had yet to consider all their complaints.
In particular, the inspectorate did not release the master plan of the project. Meanwhile, the city did not develop the new urban area in line with the zoned area of 770 hectares and failed to develop a 160-hectare resettlement site, which was approved by the then-prime minister in 1996.
In the inspection process, the team managed by the inspectorate failed to neither hold dialogues with the relevant households nor identify the acquired areas of land in the five blocks in the three wards.
Residents filed complaints denouncing some former and current leaders of the HCMC People’s Committee. Also, some officials in District 2 were accused of having committed many violations during the execution of the project.
The Deputy PM asked the relevant agencies to ensure the legitimate rights and interests of 115 affected households who had even visited the capital of Hanoi to make their complaints.
According to the report, the Government Inspectorate and HCMC had offered financial support to these households and had persuaded them to return home.
However, after its meetings with these households, the inspectorate said that they would still reject the compensation, support and resettlement plans of the local government unless their complaints, denunciations and petitions were properly addressed.
Covering a total of 657 hectares along the Saigon River in HCMC, Thu Thiem Peninsula is expected to transform into a new commercial, financial, cultural and tourism hub of the city, serving as an extension of the city’s current central business district.
In making room for the large-scale project, which was approved in 1996, HCMC has spent over 10 years on demolition and site clearance activities across most of the peninsula, with nearly 15,000 households already relocated.
The findings of the Government Inspectorate indicated that some 4.3 hectares of land in Binh An Ward – a major hot spot in Thu Thiem – was outside the zoned boundaries of the project. The municipal government in previous tenures did not present any compensation plans despite the request of the central Government.
Other households in the three wards also insisted that their plots of land were outside the approved boundaries of the project and should be addressed accordingly. SGT