Authorities halt market upgrade project to appease protesting traders

By Dinh Son, Thanh Nien News

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Many stalls in Tan Binh market, Ho Chi Minh City, were closed on Monday morning. Photo: Dinh Son Many stalls in Tan Binh market, Ho Chi Minh City, were closed on Monday morning. Photo: Dinh Son

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Officials in Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Binh District halted plans to upgrade a wet market into a $266 million-dollar trade complex to collect input from local traders on a more suitable plan.

The announcement was made just after hundreds of traders from the Tan Binh Market closed their stalls and crowded the municipal People’s Committee office and the Tan Binh District People’s Committee office on the same morning, to voice opposition to the plan.

On September 25, 300 traders in Tan Binh Market met with district officials and shared their concerns about a plan to build a shopping mall and a six-floor modern market on the site where they routinely do business.

Most of the traders opposed to the plan, saying the district authorities should only restore the market rather than turn it into a modern shopping complex.

They argued that the planned complex would “only look good” but wouldn't be practical.

In reply, Deputy Chairman Le Son of the Tan Binh District People’s Committee, announced that nine more meetings would be held with more than 3,000 market traders before deciding whether to proceed with the project or not.

Two days later announced, district authorities announced over the market's public address system, that the project would proceed and each trader who opposed it would receive VND30 million (US$1,400).

The announcement led to the closing of hundreds of stalls and the mass gatherings in front of two local government offices on Monday. 

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