Residents in limbo as housing project delays drag on

Delays in the construction of Mieu Noi Residential Zone Project in Ward 3 of Binh Thanh District, approved by the Prime Minister in 1996, have causes frustrations for hundreds of families.

Some shabby houses seen inside Mieu Noi Residential Zone project (Photo: SGGP)

Twelve years ago, the Urban Investment and Development Co. of the Ministry of Construction was entrusted with the task of building the residential zone within 10 years.

But it has still not been completed and the delay has created a dilemma for hundreds of families who were told they would have to move to make way for the project. They have not been able to repair their homes or sell them.

The house of Ms. Nguyet Anh is subject to the clearance decision and so her family will have to move. Some eight years ago, she was approached by employees of the Urban Investment and Development Co. to negotiate a compensation payment for the land.

“A very low rate of compensation was offered and we refused it,” Anh said. “We are waiting for another chance but no one has come to see us again to discuss it.”

Anh complained about the desperate housing problems her family is faced with. “We haven’t made any repairs to our house since we received the clearance decision. It now is in very poor condition but we can’t do anything about it.”

Twenty members of three generations of Anh’s family live in the small house that has a leaky roof and rising damp in the walls. At high tide, the house is flooded because it is in a low-lying area.

Ms. Tran Thi Nhu Thuy, a resident of the same neighborhood, said: “We have applied to upgrade our house several times but the ward government has rejected our applications. They said that our house is subject to a clearance decision. We don’t know how long we will have to endure this wretched situation for.”

Hundreds more houses in the area share the same fate. A local said: “Since we haven’t received any compensation payment for the land, we have to wait. When will we get it? No one knows as the project has been delayed for years. We are now all in a dilemma.”

Where is the investor?

Back in 1997, the Prime Minister signed a decision to reclaim 69,269 square meters of land in the ward. The land was assigned to the Urban Investment and Development Co. to build the Mieu Noi Residential Zone Project.

Five years after the project was approved, only a few works had been completed.

On November 21, 2002, the HCM City People’s Committee sent official notes to the Binh Thanh District People’s Committee, the investor and its subcontractors to request them to speed up land clearance procedures and construction of the project. If things didn’t start moving more quickly, the government said it would take back the land.

The project was transferred to another investor but it is still delayed.

The government has not taken back the land and the locals subject to clearance decisions still have no answers about when they will have a decent place to settle. 

By Tran Yen, translated by Phuong Lan

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