Hanoi's greed garners little sympathy

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Commuters travel on a street in Hanoi. The newly-passed Capital Law aims to curb the influx of rural people to the capital city, which is facing difficulties like those related to transport and health services, as its population is on the increase. Photo: Reuters

Last week, the National Assembly passed the Capital Law which aims to curb the influx of people from rural areas to Hanoi, despite the controversy that has surrounded it since it was first introduced in 2010.

The law and its stated objectives have made one think that it is time policymakers thought about adjusting the investment flow to Hanoi, giving due shares to other cities and provinces so they can develop and eventually lessen pressures that the capital city is facing because of increasing rural migration.

In fact, the world's 17th largest city with an area of more than 3,300 square kilometers seems to be proving that it is the "greediest" in the nation, aiming to become the center of almost everything in the country.

Of course, as the capital, it is the country's political center.

Then, it is also considered the cultural and entertainment center with nearly 20 theaters, ten museums, and 32 libraries both national and local. This is not to mention dozens of university libraries, cinemas and discotheques.

Hanoi is also the country's largest center for higher education with more than 50 universities alongside many colleges.

Then, Hanoi is listed a major industrial center in Vietnam with 14 industrial zones and 16,000 manufacturing establishments.

With over 192,000 hectares of agricultural land, the city's agriculture field is now trying to become a national model in terms of advanced technology and effectiveness, achieving the country's highest earnings per cultivated unit, as once claimed by Deputy Agriculture Minister Dao Xuan Hoc. The sector also wants to achieve earnings that account for between two and 2.5 percent of the city's gross domestic product by 2020.

Even in forestry, Hanoi plans to invest in protecting and using 26,621 hectares of forest land. Accordingly, nearly VND1.5 trillion (US$71.25 million) will be poured into forestry activities between 2011 and 2020.

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Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam, so obviously it has to be the country's center in certain aspects, but in the current "flat world," should the city take in so many "center of the nation" titles, and target more such titles by making greater investments?

Wouldn't it be better if these titles were shared, like with the northern city of Hai Phong and the province of Quang Ninh?

Only when Hanoi assumes a rational level of ambitiousness will it attract any real sympathy for the problems it faces, whether it is traffic congestion or rural migration.

Instead, it could end up attracting resentment from other localities in the country.

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