More than 100 large trees have been left behind at a vacant lot in Hanoi for nearly four years after they were moved from Kim Ma Street for the construction of an urban railway line.
Four years ago, the Hanoi Metropolitan Railway Management Board (MRB) and the municipal Department of Construction contracted Beepro JSC to move the giant trees away from their original location on the urban street of Kim Ma and replant them elsewhere in accordance with the law.
The tree removal was to clear the ground for the construction of Hanoi’s metro line No. 3, which runs 12.5 kilometers between Nhon Station in Bac Tu Liem District and Hanoi Station in Dong Da District.
Beepro made an agreement with Nguyen Van Hung, 54, to rent 3,000 square meters of his land in Da Ton Commune, Gia Lam District to grow the trees in question with a lease term of two years from November 2, 2016 to November 2, 2018.
Beepro would pay Hung VND150 million (US$6,400) a year for the land lease, according to their agreement.
Hung told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper Beepro only made the initial payment of VND150 million for the first year and has since been unreachable, while the trees have been not looked after.
According to information in the rental agreement between Beepro and Hung, the company is located at No. 177/20A Phung Khoang Street in Trung Van Ward, Nam Tu Liem District.
However, information researched by Tuoi Tre shows that the enterprise, founded on June 1, 2010, is headquartered at 99 Pham Hung Street in Me Tri Ward, Nam Tu Liem District.
Tuoi Tre’s reporters went to both these addresses on Thursday but neither location housed the Beepro office.
Your reporters also called the company’s hotline number but only reached a man who said he was no longer an employee of Beepro.
|A man hugs a large tree abandoned at a vacant lot alongside over 100 other trees in Gia Lam District, Hanoi in this undated photo. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre|
Resolution remains vague
Results of an inspection by MRB and the municipal construction department earlier this month showed that around 80 percent of the relocated trees had been growing well, while the others were either dying or barely surviving.
Regarding Beepro’s disappearance, MRB affirmed that it and relevant municipal agencies had followed all the required steps in assessing the company’s capacity for the task before contracting it to move the trees.
Beepro had been selected in 2016 for its experience in the fields of construction, design and relocation of urban green spaces, MRB said.
“In the contract signed between MRB and Beepro, there was no provision mentioning that Beepro would rent a third party’s land to grow the trees,” an MRB representative added.
On the other hand, MRB said that the implementation of its contract with Beepro has faced two major hurdles.
The first issue is that the relocated trees are not a species allowed to be grown in urban space according to new regulations, so it has been problematic finding a suitable location to replant them permanently.
|A dead tree is seen at a vacant lot where over 100 trees are abandoned after relocation in Gia Lam District, Hanoi, Vietnam in this undated photo. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre|
The other problem is the lack of standard protocol. Because the tree-moving task is the first of its kind to be executed in the capital city, there is no clear established procedure for the process.
According to Tuoi Tre’s research, the contract between MRB and Beepro stipulates that the contracted company must take care of the trees for 12 months at most from the date of replanting them in a temporary location.
After the first year, it would be the responsibility of the People’s Committee of Hanoi to move the trees to a permanent location.
According to Prof. Nguyen Lan Hung, general secretary of the Vietnam Biological Association, the trees under consideration should not be replanted in an urban area as they are easy to fall and pose safety risks in stormy weather.
“In my opinion, they should not be kept. It’s no use for us to continue taking care of them,” Hung said.
“It is reasonable to get rid of the trees as the longer we keep them, the more costs we will have to cover,” he added.