A project master-planning the major southern economic hub comprising Ho Chi Minh City and six surrounding eastern provinces and two western provinces to the south has been carefully studied since 2005. However the region has been developing incongruously and certainly needs a bandmaster at its helm.
The project master-planning the HCM City region
At a conference yesterday on the “Ho Chi Minh City Region” master plan from 2020 to 2050, Mr. Ngo Quang Hung, director of the Southern Urban and Rural Planning Institute and chief of the project said this region lacks infrastructure.
He pointed out that belt roads, railways and public transportation linking the said provinces have not been built.
Initially, there are three models applicable to the master plan: highly concentrated, concentrated with satellites and scattered. The institute later chose the second one to be implemented focusing on the nucleus HCM City urban region flanked by independent satellite localities and counterpoise municipal areas.
Taking advantages of a favorable foothold, the region will connect to the world through international routes such as HCM City-Moc Bai- Phnom Penh (Cambodia)- Bangkok (Thailand), HCM City-Chon Thanh – Hoa Lu- Mekong sub-region.
Delegates taking part in the conference said that the development of Ho Chi Minh City region needs a comprehensive, physical connection linking up the region into one integrated whole.
Now that link is manifested in administrative management only.
Discussing the project, Mr. Nguyen Thanh Nguyen said that it ignores toxic garbage treatment for the region which would pose a difficult impediment to the planning since all provinces want good things and pass the ‘buck’ to others.
Notably, Binh Duong and Dong Nai have refused to build facilities to treat toxic garbage, they noted.
Mr. Nguyen Trong Hoa, director of HCM city’s Department of Planning and Architecture called on all counterparts to help the city resolve traffic overloads.
Most service, training and healthcare centers are located in HCM City but this advantage creates a negative effect on the city’s infrastructure.
“The city can not resolve this problem without counterparts’ support”, he said.
Most delegates agreed that the current administrative mechanism among different localities leads to overlapping supervision in investment, natural resources and hamper the region’s development.
This requires an overall governing board, a powerful bandmaster for the region planning.
Despite multiple pledges to protect the Saigon River from pollution, little action has been taken as the river stretches through different administrative regions while a common governing board is yet to take shape.
Mr. Nguyen Thanh Nguyen said that this ‘bandmaster’ has already been established but it has no real power because every province has its People’s Committee and Council deciding its budget.
“The board …must have real power in financial decisions”, he added
Evaluating the project, Mr. Ian V. Green, the director of Culpin Planning Company, who is the project’s critic said that the project was good and appropriate to the region, but the project must be frequently updated and have a regulating governing board.
The project must focus on cutting down the poverty rate, fostering equal ity and sustainable development in addition to analyzing more clearly the risks involved, he added.