A view of Long Bien bridge accross the Hong (Red) River in Hanoi (Photo vnexpress.net)
Hanoi (VNA) - Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has just issued an official note regarding the draft blueprint for a transportation and hydroelectric project on the Hong (Red) River of Hanoi, affirming that the Government has not started the process of approving the project yet.

The reason cited was there is not adequate legal foundation for the approval.

The Government also asked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to co-ordinate with relevant industries and ministries to build a master plan for the Red River to ensure sustainable development.

The building of the plan must be conducted carefully with the participation of relevant localities, scientists, research organisations and agencies, the Vietnam Fatherland Front and other social and political organisations representing the people living in the Red River area.

Xuan Thien Co Ltd proposed a trans-Asia waterway and hydropower project planned to be implemented on the Red River at a total cost of 24.5 trillion VND (1.1 billion USD).

The project consists of three or six dams to be built on the river and dredging a 288-kilometer river section from Viet Tri City in Phu Tho Province to Lao Cai City in the province of the same name.

The plan will construct seven ports along the waterway, including Pho Moi, Apatite, Quy Xa, Van Phu, Ngoc Thap, Co Tiet, and a port north of Hanoi.

The investor said its own finances would account for 30 percent of the total investment cost and bank loans would make up the remainder.

The company proposed implementing the project under the build-own-operate (BOO) format. It wanted to collect fees from 10,000 VND to 45,000 VND (up to 2 USD) per tonne of cargo transported on the waterway and sell electricity at an initial price of 1,900 VND per kWh and 3,560 VND per kWh (US 16 cent) later to recover the investment capital over a period of about 25 years.

The company said the project would help create a smooth waterway from Lao Cai to Hai Phong City for vessels of 400 to 600 DWT and generate 912 million kWh per year once completed.

However, experts and residents have been protesting the project over fears for its environmental impact.-VNA