Private investment to be sought for long-delayed railway project

The Ministry of Transport has proposed the prime minister call on private firms to get involved in the Yen Vien-Pha Lai-Halong-Cai Lan railway project in the northern region, which was started 15 years ago but has been suspended.

Private investment to be sought for long-delayed railway project
A section of the long-delayed Yen Vien-Pha Lai-Halong-Cai Lan railway project - PHOTO: VNECONOMY

Voters in the northern province of Hai Duong had earlier requested the quick resumption of the project or the return of land, VnEconomy news site reported.

The project received the prime minister’s approval in 2004, with an estimated investment of nearly VND7.7 trillion, sourced from G-bond sales.

The railway was designed to be 131 kilometers long, starting from Yen Vien Station in Hanoi’s Gia Lam District, running through Bac Ninh and Hai Duong provinces and ending at Cai Lan Port in Halong City of Quang Ninh Province.

Of the total, 43 kilometers of the railway was planned as a new construction, while the remaining 88 kilometers would be the existing Kep-Halong railway, which would be upgraded.

The project was divided into four subprojects: Halong-Cai Lan, Lim-Pha Lai, Pha Lai-Halong and Yen Vien-Lim. For the Lim-Pha Lai and Pha Lai-Halong components, compensation, site clearance and the construction of some works have been completed.

However, the project was halted in 2011 following the Government’s Resolution 11/NQ-CP on major solutions to curb inflation, stabilize the macroeconomy and ensure social welfare.

The Ministry of Transport has reviewed the project, as required by the prime minister, and proposed the prime minister call on the private sector to develop the remaining components due to the tight State budget.

If private firms show interest in the project or the competent agencies can allocate capital for it, the ministry will coordinate with the localities that the railway will pass through to execute it.

According to the Ministry of Transport, about VND4.6 trillion has been injected into the project and it needs an additional VND6 trillion. Thus, the investment has increased to VND10.6 trillion from the approved capital of VND7.7 trillion, due to hikes in materials, manpower and site clearance costs.

Chinese contractor responsible for Cat Linh-Ha Dong project’s slow progress

Private investment to be sought for long-delayed railway project

File photo of a train of the Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban railway system. The Chinese contractor has been blamed for the project’s slow progress and cost overruns

The slow construction progress and cost overruns plaguing the Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban railway project in Hanoi are mainly due to Chinese contractor China Railway 6 Bureau Group, according to the Ministry of Transport.

The ministry has sent a response to the Hanoi delegation of National Assembly deputies regarding a request from voters to clarify the reasons for the delay and those responsible at long-delayed projects, such as the Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban railway project, the local media reported.

Accordingly, the ministry pointed out 12 causes for the slow progress and cost overruns of the railway project, including the Chinese contractor’s lack of experience and delays in the mobilization of additional investment for the project.

In addition, the ministry and the project management board accepted responsibility for the project’s mismanagement. The design consulting firm is responsible for the set-up of the investment project, and the Hanoi government must take the blame for delays in the handover of the cleared site for the project.

Meanwhile, the construction supervision consultant will be answerable for the construction, progress, quality and costs of the project.

Despite the direction of the Ministry of Transport and the relevant agencies, the project has moved at a snail’s pace.

The ministry has reported obstacles affecting the project’s execution to the prime minister, the Office of the Party Central Committee, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam to seek solutions to complete the project as quickly as possible.

The funding needed for the railway project has surged from the initial estimate of VND8.7 trillion in 2008 to a staggering VND18 trillion.

The project was started in October 2011 and was initially scheduled for completion in June 2014, but it has yet to be put into operation. SGT

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