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HCM City Party Committee promises swift action on Thu Thiem dispute

The secretary of HCM City Party Committee on Saturday promised residents involved in the Thu Thiem dispute, especially those living outside the project’s boundary, that swift action would be taken to resolve the issue.

Residents at a meeting in HCM City on Saturday brought planning maps of the Thu Thiem new urban area to prove that their houses are located outside the project’s boundary.
Residents at a meeting in HCM City on Saturday brought planning maps of the Thu Thiem new urban area to prove that their houses are located outside the project’s boundary.

Nguyen Thien Nhan reiterated his promise to find a satisfactory solution to the land dispute, following a meeting on Thursday in which the city apologised for its wrongdoings.

“I will continue to meet with Thu Thiem residents until the dispute is settled,” he said. “The Standing Committee of the city Party Committee has organised six meetings related to this issue in the last five months.”

Nhan also said the Standing Committee would organise another meeting soon to discuss compensation for the residents.

The city’s People’s Council is also organising its own session to discuss the policy, according to Nhân. If the city decides to use the State budget for compensation, only the city People’s Council have the right to do so.

Nhan encouraged the residents to be patient. “Progress related to the solutions is expected in the next three months.”

The process of reviewing the responsibilities of officials involved in the Thu Thiem dispute is being handled by both the city and central government.

“Relevant officials will be held responsible within the next month,” he noted.

Due to the limited time, not all residents were able to speak at the meeting on Saturday.

Resident Nguyen Van Hoc, of Cat Lai Ward, who lives outside the project’s boundary, asked about the criteria that would be used to determine compensation.

Cao Thanh Ca, of Binh Khanh Ward, said: “The central Government must raise the Thu Thiem dispute at a National Assembly meeting and issue a resolution to solve the problem, which has existed for decades in HCM City.”

Earlier, the chairman of HCM City People’s Committee apologised to the residents, especially households that live on about 4.3 ha outside the planning zone.

Nguyen Thanh Phong said at the meeting on Thursday the city would set up two working groups to resolve compensation for the affected residents within this month.

Nguyen Phuoc Hung, chairman of District 2’s People’s Committee, said that district authorities would then specify the exact number of households located outside of the project’s boundary.

The district will review each case, especially those located outside of the project’s boundary, and offer compensation, support and resettlement support.

“The working group will base its decisions on Article 74 of the Land Law in 2013 and give the affected residents land in other areas in the district,” he said.

Three locations, covering about 18,000 square metres, were selected for resettlement of the affected residents near Binh Khanh Bridge in District 2.

However, most affected residents have refused to move.

The residents said that if the authorities collected land for a project, it must be approved by the Government and compensation at the current price must be given to them.

More than 100 households on 4.3 hectares outside the planning zone in District 2’s Bình An Ward (which consists of 14,500 households in Thu Thiem) have been complaining for years.

They complained that their land had been cleared, even though it was outside the zone approved by the Prime Minister in 1996.

However, local authorities have not been able to identify the exact border of the 4.3 hectares outside the planning zone to decide who gets compensation.

After four months of investigation, the Government Inspectorate last month blamed the HCM City People’s Committee, the Ministry of Construction and the Government Office for shortcomings in submitting, evaluating and providing resettlement areas in the Thu Thiem New Urban Area.

The Inspectorate’s conclusion showed that violations of site clearance and resettlement compensation procedures might have occurred.

The Inspectorate has urged HCM City People’s Committee to resolve residents’ complaints concerning the situation by the end of this month.

The HCM City National Assembly meeting was attended by Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam, chairwoman of the HCM City People’s Council, Phan Nguyen Nhu Khue, deputy head of the delegation, and Trinh Ngoc Thuy, deputy chief judge of the People’s Court of HCM City.

Covering a total area of 657ha, the Thu Thiem new urban area is located on Thu Thiem peninsula in HCM City’s District 2, which faces downtown District 1 across the Sai Gon River.

Approved by the Government in 1996, the proposed financial district and mixed-use urban area of HCM City is set to become the largest inner-city development in Southeast Asia.

To develop such a project, it has taken more than 10 years to complete site clearance of most of Thu Thiem peninsula, with nearly 15,000 households already resettled.

More than 99 per cent of land in the proposed area has been cleared.

Last week, Nhan also met with residents in District 4 to resolve the slow progress of site clearance compensation for local residents.