Schools and parks proposed to replace HCMC's biggest graveyard

By Thu Hang   January 12, 2023 | 11:22 pm PT
Schools and parks proposed to replace HCMC's biggest graveyard
Binh Hung Hoa cemetery in HCMC's Binh Tan District seen from above in 2017. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
After the graves are removed from Binh Hung Hoa Cemetery in Ho Chi Minh City, the land should be used to build schools and parks, Binh Tan District officials have proposed.

Writing to the HCMC administration recently, district officials argued against a previous plan which said that part of the cleared land would be used to build a shopping mall.

Lying 12km from the city's downtown, Binh Hung Hoa covers 53 hectares in Binh Tan and is the biggest cemetery in HCMC. It was built before 1975 and has more than 70,000 graves.

The city made the decision to clear part of the cemetery in 2008. In 2014, it launched a plan to relocate 54,000 graves situated on a total area of 40 hectares.

As per the initial plan, the city was to use an area of 24 hectares to make way for a shopping complex,with the remaining 16 hectares to be used for parks and public works.

The work to remove the graves officially started in 2016.

So far, more than 54% of the affected graves, or 29,242, have been relocated elsewhere.

Binh Tan Chairman Nguyen Minh Nhut said that after removing half of the graves, the district authorities decided that if the entire cleared land was used for public works, it would be more meaningful.

Therefore, the district proposed the city build two schools, parks, a square and an area for sports activities on the 40-hectare land plot once all the graves were removed, he said.

Nguyen Minh Ngoc, deputy head of Binh Tan’s board of compensation and clearance, said the biggest challenge so far has been identifying family members of those buried at Binh Hung Hoa.

He said that until now, many of the graves targeted for relocation remain untouched and have not yet been claimed by anyone.

The district has distributed information online and made many phone calls to find relatives of those buried at the cemetery, but to no avail.

As planned, Binh Tan will finish clearing all of the 54,000 graves by 2025.

The district government will exhume the bodies and cremate them if the families do not come forward, officials said, adding that no compensation will be paid in this case.

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