Thu Thiem residents reject compensation policy
Some 40 households in District 2 have expressed their disapproval over the compensation policy of the HCMC government, reasoning that their plots of land are also beyond the approved boundaries of the Thu Thiem New Urban Area development project and should be addressed accordingly.

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Residents in the Thu Thiem neighborhood express their concerns with Nguyen Hong Diep, a senior official from the Government Inspectorate

The city’s chairman, Nguyen Thanh Phong, held another meeting on November 11, with affected residents in the Thu Thiem neighborhood, especially those from the wards of Binh An and Binh Khanh, to field questions regarding their relocation for the new urban area project, reported the local media.

Local residents remarked that a notice on the inspection findings of the Government Inspectorate on the project, which was released in September, was not a final conclusion and thus carried no legal substance.

Nguyen Hong Diep, head of the Central Citizens’ Reception Board at the Government Inspectorate, told locals that the meeting was aimed at seeking their feedback on the inspection findings.

According to municipal chairman Phong, the Government Inspectorate has set up a team, including members of many ministries, to check the resettlement area of 160 hectares set aside for affected residents.

He then asked the chairman of District 2 – Nguyen Phuoc Hung – to announce a total of 10 suggestions for site clearance compensation and resettlement policies for households living in a 4.3-hectare area in Binh An Ward based on the illegal acquisition.

Nguyen Van Khuong, a resident of Binh Trung Dong Ward, then questioned the head of the HCMC People’s Committee Office, Vo Van Hoan, on whether the municipal government had established the boundaries of the 4.3-hectare site in Binh An Ward.

In particular, Khuong asked the city government's chief of staff to provide all of the maps for the new urban area so that locals could determine whether their houses were inside or outside the zoned site.

“If (our plots of land are) within the boundaries (of the project), we will discuss the 10 suggestions. As a matter of fact, our (houses) are not located (within these) boundaries,” he said.

Following the findings of the Government Inspectorate, Hoan stated that the municipal government must determine the exact boundaries to guarantee the legitimate rights and interests of the locals.

“Up to now, we have basically figured out the boundaries of the 4.3-hectare site. This is merely the first step,” he said, explaining that the central agencies would later check the legal nature of the boundaries and issue a final decision. Then, the boundaries of the illegally cleared site will be officially released.

Hoan noted that the city government will report to the Government Inspectorate the residents’ concerns that the area beyond the project’s boundaries could be greater than the 4.3-hectare site.

Residents in five neighborhoods and three residential zones, based in three wards – Binh An, An Khanh and Binh Khanh – have long complained that their houses are also beyond the boundaries, not just the 4.3-hectare site, according to Nguyen Thi Ha, a resident of Binh An Ward.

She claimed that the 10 suggestions, which ask for local feedback, were not relevant to many representatives of households who were present at the meeting.

Concluding the meeting, the city’s chairman pledged that the municipal government would work with the Government Inspectorate and the Ministries of Construction, and Natural Resources and Environment over the emerging boundary issue in the three wards.

He confirmed that the local government would also clarify the responsibilities of related individuals and groups and address any violations by the end of this month. “Next week, I will have a meeting with residents of the three remaining wards to canvas their opinions,” he said.

Covering a total area of 657 hectares along the Saigon River in HCMC, the Thu Thiem peninsula is expected to transform into a new commercial, financial, cultural and tourism hub of the city, serving as an extension of the city’s current central business district.

In making room for the large-scale project, which was approved in 1996, it has taken over 10 years for the municipal government to complete demolition and site clearance works for most of the peninsula, with nearly 15,000 households already relocated.

The findings of the Government Inspectorate indicated that some 4.3 hectares of land in Binh An Ward – a key hot spot in Thu Thiem – was outside the zoned boundary of the project. The municipal government in previous tenures did not present any compensation plans, despite the request of the central Government.


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