20 years of miserable conditions as commune waits to make way for airport

By Huu Khoa, Phuoc Tuan   May 19, 2019 | 08:00 pm GMT+7

In Suoi Trau Commune in Dong Nai Province, where Long Thanh Airport will be built, people live in wretched conditions.

Since their lands are to be taken over, for the last 20 years they have not been able to even repair their houses since construction of any kind is forbidden on lands designated for public purposes.

The authorities have yet to pay them compensation though construction is just a year away. Banks cannot lend against the lands either.

The National Assembly Standing Committee recently passed a resolution to adjust the administrative boundaries of five communes in LongThanh District, which includes dissolving the entire Suoi Trau Commune.

20 years of miserable conditions as commune waits to make way for airport

Suoi Trau Commune is 3,000 acres in size and home to more than 5,800 people. When the airport construction begins these people will become residents of a new hamlet in Binh Son Commune.

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For the past 20 years many of the commune’s roads have not been maintained.

On Ngoc Hieu, a commune resident, said: "The road is dusty during the dry season and muddy during the rainy season. People here are living a miserable life."

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Houses are shabby and dilapidated. The house of Nguyen Thi Bach Tuyet, 59, has cracked walls that threaten to collapse at any time.

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Standing next to the damaged house that has been her family’s for 30 years, Tran Thi Thanh, 79, said she wants to renovate the house and make it more spacious, but is not allowed to do so.

"I hope the government pays adequate compensation for people in this area because for so many years we have suffered such great disadvantages."

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There are several abandoned houses in the commune after their owners moved to other places to look for jobs.

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Hong, a local resident, said: "With no wet market, people have to go to Binh Son Commune, about seven kilometers away, to buy."

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Looking at the barren three-acre cashew garden of his family that was left abandoned for years, Vu Van Hong, 59, said: "I can't do anything though I have the land since the bank will not lend against it."

Most of the people in the commune subsist by growing cashew, rubber, cassava, and other crops. But with the airport plan, no one has dared to invest in farming and switched instead to work in factories.

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The chairman of the Long Thanh District people's committee, Vo Tan Duc, said the local school and health center are still functioning normally.

"We have announced the land acquisition plan, and listing the assets of all residents," Duc said.

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The rubber farms on the two sides of the road leading to the commune will be cleared before being handed over for the airport construction.

Long Thanh Airport, to cost an estimated atVND336.63 trillion ($16.03 billion), will be built in three phases over three decades.

The first is scheduled for completion in 2025, when the airport will have a capacity of 25 million passengers a year. The next two phases will run from 2030 to 2035 and from 2040 to 2050.

Situated 40 kilometers east of HCMC, the airport is expected to ease the burden on the overloaded Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

Once completed, Long Thanh International Airportwill have a capacity of 100 million passengers and five million tons of cargo a year.

 
 
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