HCMC may have to cut down 150-year-old trees in central park for metro line

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A file photo of Tao Dan Park in Ho Chi Minh City. At least 33 big trees in the park will have to be cut down for the city's second metro line project. A file photo of Tao Dan Park in Ho Chi Minh City. At least 33 big trees in the park will have to be cut down for the city's second metro line project.

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Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City say they will have to allocate a large area in Tao Dan Park for the second metro line, which will connect its central districts with the fast growing western suburbs. 
According to a new plan, the 10-hectare park in District 1 needs to cut up a piece of land of 2,100 square meters for the project. That means at least 33 big trees will have to be felled, many of which were grown in the 1860s. 
Some officials in District 1 has asked the city to reconsider such a plan, saying the park serves as the lungs of the city center and its trees should be preserved. 
Tao Dan is a popular spot in the city, with a playground for children, a temple of ancient Vietnamese rulers Hung Kings, and a lot of space for outdoors activities.
 Locals gather at Tao Dan Park in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1. Photo credit: kenh 14.
The city government earlier this month said that the metro line No. 2 is falling behind schedule and expected to cost 50 percent more than the initial estimate.
The city said in a report that the line is now expected to cost more than US$2 billion compared with the initial number of nearly $1.35 billion.
It said the cost has burgeoned after a recent estimate found the track and underground stations would cost $1.17 billion instead of $404 million as expected earlier.
The city will file a detailed report this month on the cost adjustments to seek approval from the government.
Work on the line, one of the eight planned for the country’s first subway network, began in January with money from official development assistance and the city.
It will run more than 11.3 kilometers, including 9.3 kilometers underground, from a station near Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to Tan Phu District.
Work on the first line connecting Ben Thanh and Suoi Tien in District 9 began in 2012 and is expected to finish by 2018.

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