Hanoi (VNA) – Dozens of planned urban development projects on the outskirts of Hanoi have not been completed, turning into ghost towns and a source of misery for residents and investors.

According to a report by the Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper, Me Linh district, for example, was a hot real estate market in 2008 and 2009. But now housing and urban development projects that were begun there have become deserted.

The Housing and Urban Development Corporation (under the Ministry of Construction) spent hundreds of billions of dong for ground clearance, road paving and compensation for local farmers, but the Thanh Lam-Dai Thinh 2 New Urban Area located near the office of the Me Linh district People’s Committee has not been completed.

Close by is a project named Spring Hill City, the infrastructure for which was completed, but the grass covering the unfinished villas has turned it into a cow pasture.

Nearly 20 projects in Tien Phong commune which took over hundreds of hectares of land, remain deserted. These include large-scale projects of Nam Son hotels and villas located on an area of 60ha, Phuc Viet eco-villas on 24.3ha, buildings and houses for workers on 16ha, Minh Giang Dam Va Urban City on 22ha, Tien Phong Flower Village on 40ha, and Tien Phong International Village on 30ha.

So far, only the Ha Phong Urban Area project with hundreds of villas and houses has been completed but few people have moved in, the paper reported.

The district’s authority said that many out of the 47 projects undertaken in the district have not been completed.

Hoai Duc district located on the western side of the city, which was expected to develop fastest among 19 planned outskirts districts, is similarly abandoned.

With the advantage of transport facilities connecting it with National Highway 32, Thang Long Boulevard, To Huu and Le Van Luong roads, the district’s lands were targets of big real estate companies such as Sudico, Posco, Vinaconex, Lideco or Vietacimex.

However, a series of housing and urban development projects by the investors has not been completed.

“Many projects were approved since 2006 but they were not finished for many reasons,” said Hoai Duc district Vice Chairman Do Duc Trung. Trung said he had several meetings with relevant offices to push the investors, but the projects are at a standstill.

"These were projects approved by the central city authority and land was allocated to investors, so we [district] could not intervene but suggest recommendations only," Trung said.

Luong Toan Thang, head of Me Linh District Urban Management Division said that in the "land fever of 2008 and 2009, many projects in the district mobilized capital from thousands of people. Project suspensions cause losses for people and prolonged sueing,” he told the paper.

Recently, the local authority asked project investors to update it on the situation, but few complied, Thang said.

According to Pham Thanh Tung, chief manager of the Vietnam Architects’ Association, abandoning housing and urban development projects was a violation of land regulations by investors.

“When investors applied for projects, there were concrete regulations on the duration and stipulations that the project licences would be revoked if projects could not be realized,” said Tung.

“The first reason was weak management. The second was interest groups,” Tung added, explaining the cause of the problem.

“Actually, many investors transferred the land allocated to others to make money on the increased value of the land,” he said.

Meanwhile, Prof Dang Hung Vo, former deputy minister of natural resources and environment, said “this was the consequence of approving too many projects not taking into account real demand”.

“It’s time for the city to revoke lands and give strict sanctions if investors do not restart their projects,” architect Tung said.

“Unfinished projects cause not only money waste but also social consequences.”-VNA