Hanoi mayor halts massive tree-cutting project

By Le Quan, Thanh Nien News

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A tree felled in Hanoi on Thursday. Photo: Ngoc Thang

Hanoi mayor Nguyen The Thao this morning said he has ordered a stop to the felling of more than 6,700 trees lining the capital's streets.
Thao, the Chairman of the People's Committee of Hanoi, made the decision after the tree-cutting project, worth a reported US$3.4 million, caused an uproar nation-wide.
On Thursday Thao blamed the public protest against the project on his subordinates' failure to thoroughly inform the local people about it, leading them to misunderstand it as a "tree massacre."
In fact, the project only sought to replace dying trees that pose risks to road users with new, healthy ones, he said. 
He also denied reports that the city government will pay for the project, saying a number of businesses and organizations agreed to fund it. 
He ordered the authorities in charge of cutting and replacing the trees to listen to heed public opinion and revise the list of trees to be felled.

A note that says "I'm a healthy tree. Don't cut me down." was pinned to a tree in a street of Hanoi.
Under the project, more than 6,700 trees on 190 streets across the capital city will be chopped down and new trees will be planted in lieu. 
The Hanoi Department of Construction, which is in charge of the project, said more than 500 trees on nine streets had been cut down as of Thursday. 
It said the progress of the project depends on the sponsors’ allocation of funds. 
Le Van Duc, director of the department, said a division of the department in charge of infrastructure will organize the auction of timber from the felled trees and deliver the money to the city’s budget. 
A Thanh Nien research on Thursday shows the tree cutting and re-planting work had been finished on Le Duan, Quang Trung and Ngo Thi Nham streets. Many trees that were cut down look healthy and luxuriant.

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