Saigon to remove 20,000 shanty houses from canal banks

By VnExpress   October 7, 2016 | 06:28 pm PT
Saigon to remove 20,000 shanty houses from canal banks
A slum area around a canal in District 8, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress
Investors are discouraged by low profits and the city wants to draw them back by simplifying bidding rules.

Ho Chi Minh City has asked for the central government’s permission to simplify bidding rules to draw investors into canal cleanup projects that involve the removal of thousands of shanty houses.

Le Van Khoa, the city's vice chairman, said at a meeting with the Construction Ministry on Thursday that there are about 20,000 substandard shanty houses along the city's canals, and they pose a threat to the people living there and cause pollution along the waterways.

The city announced plans to clean up its canals last year but said the projects will take many years and billions of dollars to complete, while investors have been discouraged by low returns.

Khoa said the city needs the government’s approval to simplify bidding procedures to draw investors back following recent interest.

The Saigon Housing and Infrastructure Investment JSC has offered to invest nearly VND9.3 trillion ($417 million) to clean up and remove houses along parts of the Doi Canal in District 8, he said. Half of the slum houses in the city are in District 8.

A company from Hanoi also said it wanted to spend more than VND5 trillion ($224.2 million) on the Xuyen Tam Canal in Binh Thanh District.

HCMC started removing shanty houses from its canals in 1993 and has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the mission.

It plans to bring all the stinky, dirty canals back to life, like it has done successfully with the Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe Canal, which runs roughly eight kilometers through seven districts.

The city spent around a decade and more than $390 million, including funding from the World Bank, to revive the canal.

No plan has been announced on where the residents will be relocated to. Earlier, affected residents living along the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe were moved into social housing projects.

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