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Thu Thiem New Urban Area project to be scrutinized

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The HCMC delegation of National Assembly deputies plans to inspect the Thu Thiem New Urban Area project whose original 1/5000 zoning map the city government recently said is missing.

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File photo of Thu Thiem peninsula seen from the Bitexco Financial Tower in downtown HCMC

Thu Thiem, a crescent-shaped peninsula in District 2 opposite downtown HCMC, has long been planned to become a new modern urban area, serving as an extension to the city’s current central business district, Tuoi Tre newspaper reports.

Planning for the new urban area began in 1996, as the then Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet issued a decision approving its development. Thu Thiem was then hoped to become a new commercial, financial, cultural and tourism center of the city.

A design for Thu Thiem, together with the original zoning map, is believed to be attached to this decision and signed by the then Government leader. The map is seen as the legal basis for issuance of subsequent detailed plans, and relocation of tens of thousands of residents there.

Vo Van Hoan, head of the HCMC People’s Committee Office, said in a press conference on May 2 that the city government had not been able to find the original zoning map.

This is why over 60 households at Thu Thiem have lodged complaints against the municipal government, claiming that their homes and land had been illegally cleared as they are outside the project’s approved area.

Phan Nguyen Nhu Khue, deputy head of the HCMC delegation of National Assembly deputies, told Thanh Nien newspaper yesterday that the delegation is preparing a statement seeking feedback from the municipal Party chief Nguyen Thien Nhan to inspect the project.

The inspection team will check the legality, site clearance, resettlement and compensation, as well as investment attraction practices of the project among others. The group will also ask independent experts to assess the project, according to him.

During the inspection period, relevant departments and agencies will have to prove their points on the basis of legal documents such as notices on conclusions of the city government, and policies on the area and status of Thu Thiem area.

The team will also clarify responsibility of those handling complaints by local residents which have been directly affected by the project, he stressed.

In a related development, Vo Viet Thanh, former chairman of the municipal government in the 1997-2001 tenure, told Tuoi Tre newspaper in a recent interview that a Thu Thiem zoning map with Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet’s signature on it is non-existent.

He stressed that he signed the city’s proposal seeking Prime Minister’s approval for Thu Thiem’s planning in 1996.

The former city leader then showed Tuoi Tre a total of 13 different maps, dated May 1995, outlining the future look of Thu Thiem. These maps include planning for Thu Thiem’s transport infrastructure, utilities, functional areas and drainage system.

The maps, together with a statement asking for approval for the 1/5000 planning of Thu Thiem New Urban Area, were submitted to the central Government at that time, he said.

Source: VietNamNet

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