Major HCMC anti-flooding project set for completion next year

By Ha An   November 16, 2021 | 06:20 pm PT
Major HCMC anti-flooding project set for completion next year
A tidal sluice on the Muong Chuoi Canal in Nha Be District, a part of HCMC's VND10-trillion ($435-million) urban flooding prevention project, April 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Work has resumed on a VND10-trillion ($435-million) urban flooding prevention project in HCMC after months of delay following contractual problems.

The project, which covers 100 hectares (250 acres) in districts 1, 4, 7, 8, Binh Chanh and Nha Be, is building a new drainage system with six tidal sluice gates to control flooding over a 750-square-kilometer area. It is expected to benefit around 6.5 million people in downtown HCMC and those residing by the Saigon River.

The project was more than 90 percent complete and with work being resumed now, it will be completed within next year, Dang Phu Thanh, deputy director of the municipal Department of Construction, told constituents at a meeting of the city's National Assembly delegation Tuesday.

The project began construction in June 2016, with city-based Trung Nam Group as the lead investor under a build-transfer (BT) contract.

While the project was expected to be completed within three years, construction was briefly stopped in April 2018 due to a lack of capital, and then delayed again starting November 2020 because the city administration had yet to extend the project's completion deadline. The contract had expired in June 2020.

Since the contract was not extended, the bank had refused to disburse the remaining sum of VND1.8 trillion ($77.6 million) for Trung Nam to continue the project, the company's CEO Nguyen Tam Tien had said at a meeting with city authorities last December.

In April, the then Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, ordered HCMC to work with the central bank and BIDV to provide funds for the project.

Attending the Tuesday meeting with constituents, city chairman Phan Van Mai, who took office in late August, said the city has spent a lot of time and effort recently on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, and not paid enough attention to the project.

Residents of Vietnam's biggest city are eager for a respite from the chronic flooding they have been suffering for two decades.

The tardy implementation of several anti-flooding projects has meant that roads and houses in HCMC continue to get submerged during high tide and heavy downpours.

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