HCMC residents hand over prime land for second metro line

By Gia Minh   November 28, 2020 | 05:00 pm PT
HCMC residents hand over prime land for second metro line
The front parts of houses on Cach Mang Thang Tam Street in HCMC's District 1 are demolished to give space for the city's second metro line, November 27, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh.
Residents of HCMC’s District 1 have razed parts of their homes to make way for the Ben Thanh-Tham Luong metro line.

A row of street-front houses along Cach Mang Thang Tam Street near the intersection with Suong Nguyet Anh Street had their facades removed to cede space for the underground Tao Dan Station of the city’s second metro line.

The line will run 11 kilometers through Districts 1, 3, 10, 12, Tan Binh and Tan Phu with 10 stations, nine of them underground.

Some of those houses have been repaired while many others are still under demolition.

Tuan Anh, 43, owner of one such house, said his family of three started having the front part of their house dismantled three months ago and in those months, they had spent VND12 million ($520) per month renting a place to live.

His house is four meters wide and 12 meters long, used as a store to trade watches and clocks.

After ceding land for the project, which Anh said "is necessary for the development of the city," the total area of the house has now been reduced by half.

Now that work to dismantle and fix the house has been completed, Anh said he cannot help but worry if the small space and the coming project could affect his family’s business.

Next to his house, a group of workers has been demolishing the front part of a five-story house for the past two weeks.

That house is eight meters wide and 10 meters long. After the site clearance, its length will be cut by more than half.

The area in District 1 through which metro line No.2 will cut is considered a "prime location", lying at the heart of the city.

This explains why many house owners have remained unsatisfied with the compensation of VND305 million ($13,162) per square meter, which they say is less than half of the actual market prices of 700-800 million per square meter.

Disagreements about the compensation had prompted delay in land acquisition, causing the entire project to be rescheduled several times.

As per its current schedule, the line will become operational in 2026, serving 140,000 passengers per day in the first phase, and 400,000 once it is completed in full.

Le Van Khoa, director of the line’s project management board, said 20 out of 29 affected households in District 1 have handed over their land and it is expected that the rest would be acquired from now until the year’s end.

Khoa said the city has had to sit down with those households several times to convince them to give up their land for the project.

He added the district is working on procedures to disburse VND225 billion ($9.72 million) in compensation.

"The compensation is not what we expected but when thinking that once the project is completed, the area could provide more economic opportunities, our family decided to hand over a part of our house," an anonymous resident explained.

In all, 603 households in five districts are affected by the project and 433 have agreed to submit their land for site clearance.

The second line is expected to cost VND47.9 trillion ($2 billion) after ballooning from the earlier VND26 trillion ($1.1 billion), with construction planned between 2021 and 2026.

It is part of eight metro lines planned in the city with a combined length of 220 km and a price tag of nearly $25 billion.

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