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Road renovation worries Ho Chi Minh City residents ahead of Lunar New Year

Thursday, January 07, 2016, 15:44 GMT+7

Many streets in Ho Chi Minh City are undergoing renovation, raising concern among local residents as now is a critical time for them to speed up their business operations before the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday.

Several streets, sidewalks and alleys are being excavated, blocking the entrances to multiple shops, restaurants, and diners as well as creating immense difficulties for people traveling on the roads, according to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters’ observation.

A part of Nguyen Van Qua Street in District 12 has been subject to such renovation for a couple of months, with building equipment, materials and roadblocks being placed all over the area, preventing local businesses from operating and speeding up before the Lunar New Year holiday, Dung, the owner of a confectionary shop on the street, told Tuoi Tre.

Vietnam’s Lunar New Year falls on February 8, with festive preparations and celebrations going on one week before and after the date.

The renovation began in September and was said to be completed at the end of December 2015, but it is nowhere close to finish at the present time, according to Dung.

Dung’s business has suffered heavy losses during the time of the renovation, with his daily revenue dropping from VND2.3 million (US$102.3) to under VND100,000 ($4.45), he said, adding that he has to pay a regular rent of VND5 million ($222.5) per month.

A two-meter-deep hole spanning over 20 meters and two big piles of rocks on another part of Nguyen Van Qua Street are seen as obstacles in front of a mobile phone retailer, a food stall, and a grocery store.

“It is already excruciating for us to enter or leave our place, let alone our customers. The dust produced by the construction work and the smell from the sewerage holes are also likely to scare everybody away,” Nguyen Van Dong, the owner of the grocery store, complained.

His income has also shrunk from the minimum of VND8 million ($356) to VND3 million ($133.5) a day, he added.

The hole, which blocks the entrance to an alley of the street, prevents garbage trucks from entering and collecting household trash, and causes inundation by blocking the sewer, according to local people.

Similar situations can also be spotted on several streets in Tan Binh District and Tan Phu District.

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Big piles of rocks are pictured on another part of Nguyen Van Qua Street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Plans for such construction works were approved by competent agencies after they were prepared and submitted for a long time, said Tran Huu Nam, director of a firm responsible for renovation projects in Tan Binh and Tan Phu.

Nam added that their coincidence with this busy time of the year is purely arbitrary.

The delay to the renovation work on Nguyen Van Qua Street is due to the overlapping execution of other road projects, Le Thanh Liem, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Urban Upgrading Investment - Investment Management Unit, explained, adding that he expects the understanding of local people.

The construction on this street is expected to finish before the upcoming Tet holiday, he said.

About 47 road construction projects are being carried out on 27 streets in the southern city for multiple purposes, according to the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport.

The department will set standards for the construction companies that manage urban upgrade projects and will record any violation that affects the city’s traffic and environment, Tran Quang Lam, deputy head of the department, said.

Those organizations that are penalized three times will be banned from carrying out the construction in the city, the official added.

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