Dong Nai urged to hand over land for Long Thanh airport project hinh anh 1Deputy Minister of Transport Le Anh Tuan speaks at a meeting on August 5 with Dong Nai province officials about site clearance for the long-planned Long Thanh International Airport. (Photo: VNA)

Dong Nai (VNS/VNA) - The Ministry of Transport has urged Dong Nai province to speed up site clearance, compensation and resettlement for affected households so that construction on the long-planned Long Thanh International Airport can begin next year.

Speaking at a meeting with Dong Nai officials on August 5, Deputy Minister of Transport Le Anh Tuan said the site must be available no later than August 2020 so that the first phase of construction could begin and be operational by 2025 as planned.

Nguyen Ngoc Hung, Deputy Director of Dong Nai's Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said the province was making good progress in land clearance, compensation and resettlement.

The province has already paid 50 percent of the compensation for 358ha of rubber plantation land to the Dong Nai Rubber Corporation to build two resettlement areas in Loc An and Binh Son communes in Long Thanh district.

The corporation has begun cutting rubber trees to hand over a clean site, according to Hung.

Tran Van Vinh, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said that construction of the two resettlement areas would be completed next year.

However, Vinh noted that the province was facing difficulties with site clearance and compensation procedures as many landowners had been absent for assessment of land for compensation.

Meanwhile, the province had discovered illegal transfer of land among land owners, he added.

Assessment of cleared land for compensation purposes has been completed for only 276 out of 455 households, according to Long Thanh district authorities.

District authorities have published a notice in the national media that warns absent landowners that their land could be reclaimed.

If the landowners do not show up 15 days after published warnings, the land will be reclaimed under current laws.

Le Anh Tuan, Deputy Minister of Transport, said the Long Thanh International Airport was a key national project with a significant impact on the southern key economic region as well as Dong Nai province.

He suggested that the Ministry of Transport closely work with Dong Nai province to promptly solve problems to ensure that the project remains on schedule.

The province should hand over the site to the Airport Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) by August next year, he said.

Leaders of the Ministry of Transport would meet with the province’s People’s Committee and concerned agencies to solve any problems.

To build such an airport, the site clearance project must acquire more than 5,000 hectares of land and more than 364 extra hectares to build two resettlement sites.

As a result, some 4,800 local households and 26 organisations are expected to be relocated. Some 70 percent of the 15,500 affected people are farmers, and the rest are rubber workers or workers in other sectors.

Recently ACV submitted the feasibility study for the airport project to the Ministry of Transport, which will later be submitted to the Government and the National Assembly for approval in October.

The National Assembly in 2015 approved the airport project. Once fully operational, the airport would reduce the load on neighbouring Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

The Long Thanh Airport is expected to handle 100 million passengers and five million tonnes of freight each year.

Covering a total area of more than 5,580 hectares, the airport will be located in six communes in Long Thanh district in Dong Nai province.

The airport’s total investment is 336.63 trillion VND (14.5 billion USD), with construction divided into three phases.

In the first phase, a runway and one passenger terminal along with other supporting works will be built to serve 25 million passengers and 1.2 million tonnes of cargo each year.

The first phase is expected to be completed by 2025.-VNS/VNA