Doubts arise as Hanoi plans to fix infamous water line with cheap pipes

Thanh Nien News

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Song Da water pipeline in Hanoi broke in August 2015. Photo: Tuan Anh/Tuoi Tre Song Da water pipeline in Hanoi broke in August 2015. Photo: Tuan Anh/Tuoi Tre


The Ministry of Investment and Planning has voiced concern over the quality of pipes that Hanoi will buy from a Chinese company to fix a major water line in the city, following 17 ruptures over the past four years. 
A statement from the ministry's Bidding Assistance Center said several projects in Vietnam have used the same ductile iron pipes supplied by Xinxing Pipes International Development Company and “they have not satisfied the customers.”
“The company's customers overseas also showed a lack of satisfaction,” it said, as cited by news website VnExpress.
The center released the statement after Viwasupco, the water utility subsidiary of construction firm Vinaconex, chose Xinxing as the supplier of ductile iron pipes for its Song Da water pipe system, whose existing fiberglass pipes kept broken.
Viwasupco said it has surveyed Xinxing customers in Vietnam and all the responses were positive.
Nguyen Van Ton, general director of Viwasupco, told local media on Wednesday that it received bidding applications from two Chinese companies, a French and an Indian one.
Ton said Xinxing won the contract for being the only one meeting technical and financial requirements.
Xinxing set its price at US$26.3 million, 12 percent less than the cost approved for the pipe supply package. The company will deliver the pipes this May, according to Viwasupco.
The new pipe line, which will cost a total of $53.7 million to build, will run 21 kilometers to provide tap water for nearly 200,000 families in Hanoi.
Local media counted that the current system, which cost $70 million, has broken 17 times since 2012, three years after the pipe was installed, although it was supposed to last at least 50 years.
Nine former executives from Vinaconex have been prosecuted as the ruptures affected around 70,000 families every time.

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