HCMC urges firm to give up land for metro line

By Dinh Phu, Thanh Nien News

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Work in Ho Chi Minh City's subway tunnel, which will cross the Saigon River. Photo: Dinh Phu Work in Ho Chi Minh City's subway tunnel, which will cross the Saigon River. Photo: Dinh Phu

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The Ho Chi Minh City government has urged the authorities in neighboring  Binh Duong Province to force a company to make way for a billion-dollar subway line.
The city has asked its neighbor to press the Vinh Phat Company in Di An Town to relocate so that work on the second package of the country's first metro line can begin by the end of the year.
The country’s urban rail system is designed to run 19.7 kilometers from Ben Thanh Market to Suoi Tien theme park, which lies along the  HCMC-Binh Duong border.
Work on the Suoi Tien end is now 30 months behind schedule due to delays in site clearance.
The recent relocation request was the second made by the HCMC administration, which could soon be ordered to pay its idle contractors around VND2 billion (US$93,540) a day in penalties.
During a meeting in August, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai ordered the involved parties to make way for the new metro line by the end of October.
The city first petitioned Binh Duong on the matter during a meeting held on October 30, when two companies had refused to budge.
One of the company finally agreed to a deal on November 11.
All land in Vietnam is owned by the government, which only grants individuals and businesses temporary usage rights.
The government is therefore allowed to exercise imminent domain whenever circumstances require, so long as it offers the displaced individual cash or land as compensation.
The HCMC government said the delay might push the completion of the subway to 2020 well beyond the late 2018 deadline set forth in the approved government plan.
The Japanese government has agreed to lend more than $2.2 billion in Official Development Assistance (ODA) for the $2.49 billion project.
The HCMC government will cover the rest.
The project’s board – the NJPT Association – includes six Japanese consultants and two Vietnamese.

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