HCMC to install Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro rail track in October

SGGP
Rail tracks and sleepers of the above ground stretch of Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro line will be installed in October, said head of HCMC Urban Railway Management Board Le Nguyen Minh Quang at a press conference on Friday.

Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro line spans over Saigon River (Photo: SGGP)

Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro line spans over Saigon River (Photo: SGGP)

At present, the above ground stretch of the first metro line from Ba Son station to Long Binh depot has completed 70 percent of work volume. However, import equipment for rail track installation has been stuck at a seaport because of tax problems.
Mr. Le Nguyen Minh Quang said that formerly the Ministry of Finance announced that import items for construction of the metro line would be exempt from tax payment. However, the ministry has recently informed that it is reconsidering the tax exemption.
The People’s Committee of HCMC has worked with HCMC Customs Division and reported to the General Department of Vietnam Customs to solve the issue to ensure that the project can go on schedule.
Director of Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro line project Duong Huu Hoa said that 8,000 sleepers are manufactured at a plant in Ben Luc district, Long An province. Rail tracks will be first installed from Phuoc Long station to Thu Duc district.
Japanese contractors are now making locomotive and coaches and the first train will be transported to Vietnam in October next year.
In the upcoming time, Dien Bien Phu flyover will be constructed. According to foreign experts’ advises, the work should apply a technology which does not require traffic segregation under the construction site to limit impacts on traffic.
If this solution is successful, it will be implemented when building Hanoi flyover, said Mr. Hoa.
Relating to official development assistance capital shortage to pay contractors of the project, Mr. Quang said that at the end of August the city decided to advance VND500 billion (US$22 million) on its budget. Early September, VND300 billion has been given to contractors while the remaining amount will be disbursed this week.
Still that is just a provisional not long term solution as the city needs to pay contractors VND500-600 billion a month.
HCMC is still waiting for the Government’s allocation of mid term capital in the phase of 2016-2020 to have funds to pay the contractors in 2017.

By QUOC HUNG – Translated by Hai Mien

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