Master zoning plan will not move Vietnam capital: official

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A master zoning plan for Hanoi until 2030 will not move all the central government agencies out of the capital's center as recently speculated, an official said.

In fact, a national administrative center would be set up around Ba Vi Mountain, some 60 kilometers from the city's center, while many central political and constitutional agencies would stay in Ba Dinh District, Ngo Trung Hai, head of Vietnam Institute of Architecture, Urban and Rural Planning, said in a recent interview with Tuoi Tre.

Hai made the statement after Vietnam Building Environment Association on Sunday proposed the National Assembly and the government postpone approving the plan made by the US-South Korea consultant joint-venture PPJ and the institute.

The association said moving the national administrative center would mean moving the country's capital in effect, denying Hanoi's 1,000-year history.

However, Hai argued that the move was necessary, as it would make the governance easier, adding that many other countries had made the move.

Once several agencies were moved out of the city's center, there would be more space for public works and trees, he added.

Hai also rejected the association's concerns over risks contained in the project to set up cities along the Red River as part of the master plan.

According to the official, the zoning plan was backed by a specific research board and already taken public feedback into consideration, so it was not a "random" plan as critics made it out to be.

As for the association's doubt about the possibility of cutting down the population in four central districts to 80,000 by 2030 given the current population is nearly 1.2 million, Hai said it was a significant need to control the population, if they wanted the capital city to become greener and more sustainable.

Related agencies and associations needed to join the plan to meet the target, he stressed.

Asked about the association's accusation that the "green corridor" and biological diversity reserve establishment listed in the plan was unreal, Hai said their plan was supported by advanced computer programs and reports from agencies dealing with natural resources and environment.

Hanoi would have three reserves to preserve its biological diversity, and these plans were made in accordance with environment laws, Hai said.

First prepared in December 2008, the US$7-million project, titled General Zoning Plan for developing the capital through 2030 with a vision until 2050, is expected to be finalized and submitted to the National Assembly this year.

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