Over three years after the groundbreaking of a resettlement area for households affected by the Saigon Safari project in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, the resettlement area remains unfinished despite having a planned completion date of late 2019.
Pham Thi Thanh Hien, chairwoman of the Cu Chi People’s Committee, on Thursday told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the district is completing procedures to conduct the second phase of the resettlement area for the safari project.
The project has been put under the supervision of the city’s steering committee for long-stalled projects.
Cu Chi authorities started work on the resettlement area for the Saigon Safari project in August 2019.
However, infrastructure facilities in the resettlement area are still not complete.
Lam Thi Thuc, 62, a resident in Bau Dung Hamlet, An Nhon Tay Commune, Cu Chi District, where the resettlement area is being developed, said her family has been struggling to survive since their land was zoned for the safari project in 2015.
In 2012, her family bought a small land lot in Bau Dung Hamlet and has lived there ever since.
“In 2020, Cu Chi District authorities gave me more than VND200 million [US$8,066] as compensation. My family was also given a land lot for resettlement, but we have no idea when we will receive the land,” Thuc said.
Thuc’s family is just one of many Cu Chi households affected by the stalled resettlement project.
Cu Chi chairwoman Hien explained that the resettlement project is on hold because the family of Doan Van Lanh, 62, in Bau Dung Hamlet refused to hand over their land to Cu Chi District.
“Lanh’s land is inside the boundary of the safari project and was zoned to include part of the resettlement area. He did not agree to accept the compensation we offered and thus his land hasn’t been handed over to the district," she said.
“Lanh is eligible for a resettlement land lot but the district has yet to arrange the resettlement land for his family, so it is impossible to coerce him to hand over his property.”
|The house and land belonging to Doan Van Lanh, a resident in Bau Dung Hamlet, An Nhon Tay Commune, Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City are taken back to make room for the resettlement area. Photo: Thai An / Tuoi Tre
However, under the direction of the municipal steering committee for long-stalled projects, Cu Chi District in late October took back Lanh’s land lot and arranged new accommodation for his family.
Lanh also confirmed to Tuoi Tre late last month that Cu Chi authorities had, in fact, reclaimed his over-2.3-hectare land lot.
Still, conflict between Lanh and the district remains.
“I object to the compensation, so I refuse to accept it and hand over the land. I have filed a complaint,” Lanh said.
In April 2019, after the Government Inspectorate issued its findings from a comprehensive inspection into the Saigon Safari project, the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee directed Cu Chi District to quickly build the resettlement area in order to accommodate households affected by the project.
During the construction of the resettlement area, the district must provide these households with temporary accommodation.
To make room for the Saigon Safari project, land lots belonging to 705 people were zoned to be reclaimed by the government. To date, 690 of the land lots have been reclaimed, meeting 97.8 percent of the plan.
As many as 443 households are eligible for resettlement. Of that total, 247 households registered to live in the centralized resettlement area and 196 others agreed to receive compensation equal to 20 percent of the value of their land.
Under the approved plan, the resettlement area will cover 18 hectares of land with 275 resettlement land lots. The first phase of the sub-project requires over VND177 billion ($7.1 million) in investment.
Meanwhile, the Saigon Safari project was approved to cover 485 hectares of land and was licensed in 2004.
At present, 15 households have yet to move and hand over their land lots as they disagree with the offered compensation.
When the Government Inspectorate conducted a comprehensive inspection into the project, 171 households filed a complaint about the compensation.
Despite repeated calls for investors, an investor in the safari project has yet to be named. The project is put on hold now.