All business premises located on military land in the vicinity of Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City will be cleared by the end of this month, a deputy minister of defense said on Tuesday.
The removal will free up a significant area of land that may help ease the overloading pressure of Vietnam’s busiest airport.
Many military land plots surrounding Tan Son Nhat, located in Tan Binh District, are being leased to businesses that have little to do with the aviation or defense sectors.
“There may be no immediate demand to use these land plots for defense purposes, but using them in business cooperation is a complicated issue,” Deputy Minister of Defense Tran Don said at a meeting on Tuesday.
“The Ministry of National Defense and Central Military Party Committee are resolute to handle these problems.”
Don said the defense ministry has asked all military units stationed in the Tan Son Nhat vicinity to stop signing or renew contracts on leasing land areas within the airport to outside businesses.
“Putting an end on the business cooperation made on [military] land plots in the airport is the top priority of the Central Military Party Committee,” Don underlined.
Don added that a series of such business premises located along a 700-meter section of Truong Chinh Street, which is only one wall apart from the airport, should be removed by the end of this month.
The facilities include three filling stations and 50 kiosks selling from bonsai and ornamental fish to stone handicrafts and furniture. Some business owners said the land put for lease by the air force division 370.
Don requested that the air forces and the air force division 370 suspend the business activities of all of these establishments within the next ten days and cooperate with the Tan Binh administration to complete site clearance in a month.
The cleared land plot could be either used to grow more trees or serve a road expansion.
Willing to transfer
The deputy minister also reiterated that the defense ministry is willing to transfer other land plots near the airport to its transport counterpart. These include a 14-hectare land plot the transport ministry could use to expand the airport, and another 1.3-hectare piece of land to build an anti-flood reservoir for the airdrome.
“The defense ministry is willing to transfer these areas at anytime, without any delay,” Don said.
However, the transport ministry has said it could not accept the land transfer as the prime minister has yet to give its final conclusion on the expansion plan for Tan Son Nhat.
Don also mentioned the Tan Son Nhat Golf Course, infamous for occupying an enormous 157-hectare area that critics say should instead serve the expansion of the busy eponymous airport.
“The defense ministry is willing to transfer this piece of land to the transport ministry at the government request,” he said.
Don underlined that there is no gray area in handling these land-related issue, and the defense ministry is determined to ensure “military land is used effectively and legally.”