Vietnam capital to start relocating Old Quarter residents in 2017

Thanh Nien News

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A man watches TV at home in Hanoi's Old Quarter. A local house can be as small as four square meters, but hosts a family of three. Photo credit: VnExpress 

The capital city’s authorities say it will move 1,500 households from the famous quarter to a brand new residential area, which will be completed in late 2017. 
The plan, as expected, faces opposition from many of the residents, whose livelihoods depend on the coveted location of the quarter in Hoan Kiem District. 
By 2020, a total of 6,500 households, or 26,000 residents, will be relocated out of the Old Quarter, so its population density will decrease from 823 people per hectare in 2010 to 500 people per hectare, VnExpress news website quoted Duong Duc Tuan, chairman of Hoan Kiem People’s Committee, as saying Friday. 
Covering 81 hectares, the quarter has become overcrowded over the years, with a total population of more than 66,000 people, official data show.
Works will start on the new residential area in Long Bien District this March, according to the district’s authorities. 
With an initial investment of VND5 trillion (US$230.9 million), the new area will include 16 buildings with eight-nine stories each and public works like kindergartens and health clinics, said Le Quynh Anh, who is managing the new development. 
When the first stage is finished, Hoan Kiem District will ask the city authorities to provide another 30 hectares of land to accommodate more relocated residents, Tuan said. 
Besides compensations, each household will be given the first 30 square meters of their new house for free, meaning that they will have to pay or rent the remaining area of their house, vice chairman Lam Quoc Hung said.
Around 39 percent of the relocated households will be given kiosks to continue their businesses at the new place. 
However, Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper reported that many local residents are worried about their business after the relocation.
It quoted Nguyen Van Hung, whose family is among the relocated, as saying that his business has been “attached” to the Old Quarter for so long.
“I can only do business here [the Old Quarter].”
Tuan, another resident who runs a cosmetics store, also said he has earned his living for more than 30 years in the Old Quarter.
He said he still does not know what business to do next, because business is only good at crowded areas, and the new place is quite empty. 

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