The meeting, which was organized on Friday to focus on reviewing the city’s socio-economic background in the first quarter of 2017, heated up when the city’s chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong brought up the topic of sidewalk clearance.
Phong gave examples of how sidewalks are still being occupied illegally on particular streets in District 9 and District 5 despite continued directives from the municipal administration.
“Why is it that things remain unchanged in the face of directives from the city?” Phong asked rhetorically. “This reality must be addressed with seriousness.”
According to Phong, the examples he gave were only a small detail of a bigger picture: the widespread occupancy of sidewalks that has been ignored for so many years.
The chairman asserted that the recent campaigns to clear sidewalks have received tremendous support from citizens, but that they were only the beginning of a long, enduring process.
“All of the city’s forces must join hands in this common fight,” Phong stressed.
The movement has been most noticeable in the city’s downtown area, where joint teams of authorities headed by deputy chairman of District 1 Doan Ngoc Hai repeatedly demonstrated that no individual, business or government body would be spared.
From the Ho Chi Minh City branch of the State Bank of Vietnam, five-star New World Saigon Hotel and the next-door Starbucks outlet, to a state-owned building on Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street, Hai’s steadfast actions against all violators served to show that not even giant corporations or public bodies would be favored in the eye of the law.
The campaign initiated by Hai has also inspired authorities in multiple other districts of the city as well as the administrations of other provinces to begin their endeavor to ‘reclaim’ the sidewalks by raising awareness and fining offenders.
“Of course there are still experiences and lessons to be learnt from in our early moves,” Phong admitted. “But we must not be deterred by them. We must stay persevering. This is not a matter of following the trend.”