The municipal People’s Committee organised a press conference on September 21 to take responsibility and apologise to local residents about the situation in the Thu Thiem New Urban Area.
“The HCM City People’s Committee sincerely apologises to residents, especially households on an area of about 4.3 hectares outside the planning zone in District 2’s Bình An Ward,” said Vo Van Hoan, head office and spokesman of the city People’s Committee.
“The committee is taking responsibility with the Prime Minister and the Government because it did not follow what was approved,” he added.
“The city will seriously implement all conclusions of the Government Inspectorate and deal with complaints about Thu Thiem New Urban Area in District 2,” he said.
“All will be done in accordance with laws, to ensure people’s rights, and maintain the benefits of the State, investors and individuals who are using land in district 2.”
The city will review each case, especially the households on an area of about 4.3 hectares outside the planning zone in District 2’s Binh An Ward to offer compensation, support and resettlement support for the people.
At the conference, the committee pledged to meet with representatives who had sent complaints about land violations in the Thu Thiem New Urban Area. They will complete their compensation policy before November 30.
Tran Vinh Tuyen, deputy chairman of HCM City People’s Committee, said that the city would review Thu Thiem’s compensation and if they discovered violations, the land would be auctioned for compensation.
Tuyen also pointed out that the master building plan for Thu Thiem had been taken many years, and there had been many mistakes.
“The current administration will try to fix these mistakes,” he said.
The city will review and handle organisations and individuals involved in the approval of planning and adjusted plans for land acquisition, compensation and resettlement, as well as those charged with archiving records, documents and maps.
“All organisations and individuals in violation will be fined before November 30,” Hoan added.
Tuyen reported that more than 100 households on 4.3 hectares outside the planning zone in District 2’s Binh An Ward of around 14,500 households in Thu Thiem have been complaining for years, saying that their land outside the zone was approved by the Prime Minister in 1996 but had still been cleared.
“The city will focus on reviewing and offering compensation for them,” he said.
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.
“District 2 is calculating business areas or markets for local residents to earn a living. The compensation policy is being drafted and will soon be submitted to the city,” Huynh Thanh Khiet, deputy chairman of District 2 People’s Committee, said.
On September 7, the Government Inspectorate blamed the HCM City People’s Committee, the Ministry of Construction and the Government Office for shortcomings in submitting, evaluating and advising resettlement areas in the Thu Thiem new urban area.
The Government Inspectorate’s conclusion related to complaints made by residents of Thu Thiem in HCM City’s District 2 also showed that site clearance and resettlement compensation procedures might have been violated.
According to the inspectorate, Thu Thiem was designed to be a modern, sustainable urban area with regional scale and standards.
However, during the process of implementing the project, the city’s People’s Committee and relevant departments had allowed wrongdoings, prompting complaints from residents.
The inspectorate said that the Prime Minister’s Decision No.367 approving the master plan for the new urban area was competent and effective.
However, the city’s People’s Committee, the Ministry of Construction and the Government Office had allowed the plan to be extended by 10 hectares compared to the area assessed by the MoC.
Some important files attached to both Thu Thiem and a 160ha resettlement area were reportedly missing.
Another document submitted by the city asking the Prime Minister to issue a decision to recover the entire area of land planned for Thu Thiem reportedly lacked exact boundaries and the location of the resettlement area.
The inspectors also found that the implementation of some projects inside the Thu Thiem new urban area lacked a legal basis.
The Government Inspectorate also pointed out that the process of compensation, site clearance and resettlement assistance had seen many violations, such as improper implementation of the 2003 Land Law, no plan for compensation and ground clearance, and no plan to build a resettlement site prior to site clearance, resulting in complaints about compensation and support policies.
The municipal People’s Committee’s plans for the recovery and allocation of land for the construction of resettlement areas were found to be incompetent, violating regulations such as not having resettlement sites in place in accordance with the plan approved by the Prime Minister.
More seriously, the Government Inspectorate also pointed out that the People’s Committee had violated the law by formulating, submitting and approving a plan to revoke the 160ha of resettlement land approved by the Prime Minister.
As a consequence, the development of the area was stalled by residents’ complaints.