Vietnam may need $2.2 bln to keep railways safe

By Hoang Thuy   April 14, 2017 | 05:28 am PT
Vietnam may need $2.2 bln to keep railways safe
Children cross a railway in Hanoi. Photo by Tomas Slavicek
It will be 'extremely difficult' to reclaim the safety corridor for train tracks because people have been living alongside them for so long, an official said.

Vietnam is set to reduce its rising road-railway crashes by setting a safe boundary, but officials estimated the relocation would cost as much as VND50 trillion ($2.2 billion), and only if it can be executed.

Khuong The Duy, deputy head of Vietnam Railway Authority, said at a meeting Thursday that it would be “extremely difficult” to reclaim the safety corridor for train tracks because houses have been standing alongside them for so long, and in some cases have even grown into large urban areas.

Duy said in order to build a 15-meter boundary for railways, more than nine million square meters (10.8 million square yards) of land will have to be cleared, which will need at least VND50 trillion to compensate evicted residents. That was based on prices in 2013, he told Hanoi’s legislators.

The National Assembly, Vietnam's legislature, is scheduled to review amendments to the railway law during its next session due to start in May.

Lawmakers said there should be clear regulations on maintaining safety boundary for railways, as there have been “too many crashes and losses.”

They said there should be specific rules to hold someone criminally responsible in case of serious incidents, like the one in October last year when six people aboard a car were killed in a collision with a train.

Official data showed that train collisions have increased to 32 in the first two months of this year, killing 25 people. Most of the crashes occurred at unfenced road-railway intersections.

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