HCMC wants to continue controversial road project

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Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City have asked the prime minister for permission to continue a road project in spite of sharp criticism levelled against the project by central government inspectors.


This week the HCMC People's Committee sent an urgent letter to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung insisting that construction of the The Tan Son Nhat Binh Loi beltway project should proceed with controversial modifications.


City officials asked that the road feature two 20-meters wide sections spanning 1.5 kilometers of Tan Binh and Go Vap districts.


The modifications drew complaints from many people in affected districts.



In a damning report last week, government inspectors criticized the municipal authorities for adjusting the plan without acquiring approval from the prime minister and related agencies.



The inspectors stated that the plan originally called for a straight, 60 meter wide roadway.


Municipal authorities had also caused over US$44.3 million in losses to the state budget by estimating five pieces of land's values before regulated time, according to the inspectors.


The plots were planned to give to the project's investor GS Construction & Engineering Corporation in return for its investment.


Government inspectors also criticized the cost of the project, estimated $172 million by the Korean company, saying it was "baseless," as well as other shortcomings in the contract signed between the city's authorities and GS in 2007.

Despite the crticism, the city has asked the prime minister to consider their request before ordering them to renegotiate the terms of their contract with GS as proposed by the inspectors.

Further negotiation could cause the Korean-owned company to delay the project for many years, city officials claimed. 

In their letter, the city also claimed that the inspectors failed to consider the city's explanations before publishing their conclusions.

Their contract was made in accordance with fair and clear negotiations as well as the approval of related agencies, according to the HCMC People's Committee.

Launched in June 2008, the beltway project was designed to connect the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Tan Binh District with northeastern areas of the city.

The plan initially anticipated that the road would come into use in 2013.


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