Vietnam police probe state-owned company for shoddy water main

By Thai Son-Le Quan, Thanh Nien News

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A pipeline that brings clean water from the Da River Water Factory in Hoa Binh Province to families in six Hanoi districts. Photo: Le Quan

Police from the Ministry of Public Security launched an investigation on Tuesday into a Hanoi-based state-owned company tasked with managing a water pipeline that broke nine times in three years.
The Vinaconex Corporation will be investigated on charges of “violating construction regulations, causing serious consequences.” a police official told Thanh Nien News.
The Government Inspectorate also announced that it would investigate the bidding process that led to the shoddy construction work.
Vinaconex supposedly spent VND1.5-trillion (US$70.3 million) on the pipeline that began bringing clean water from the Da River Water Factory (in the neighboring province of Hoa Binh) to families in six Hanoi districts in 2008.
The pipeline, which runs 47 kilometers, broke for the first time in February 2012. Breakdowns occurred more often this year: three ruptures were reported in April, one in June, and two this month (July 10th and 12th).
In the latest incident, over 70,000 Hanoi households lost access to water after a section of the pipeline in Thach That District broke in the night due to a 20-30 centimeter hole.
Hanoi authorities later ordered Vinaconex to build another 10 kilometer pipe to help divert water from the troubled pipeline.
Vinaconex once admitted that the breakdowns were caused by low-quality construction materials.
A representative from the firm told Thanh Nien News on Monday that the company’s operations will continue as normal.
“We will cooperate with investigators to clarify any problems," he said. "Naturally, we won't attempt to cover for anyone who may have violated regulations."

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