Slum along the Van Thanh canal in HCM City (Photo: VNA)
 
HCM City (VNA) – Ho Chi Minh City is looking for private investors to fund urban development, especially the relocation of 20,000 households living along canals.

Speaking at the “Open Call for Investment in Projects for the Rehabilitation of the Canal Region and Urban Renewal Conference” last week, Tran Vinh Tuyen, vice chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said the goal of urban development is to improve the quality of life for people and build a modern and civilised city.

Over the past 20 years, a programme to relocate people living along canals and reorganise their lives has moved 36,000 households, he said.

But the results have fallen short of expectations and more than 20,000 households along canals have not been relocated, Tuyen said.

Urban development has not been inadequate, and confused in terms of management, he admitted.

Pollution and flooding remain bad, affecting the health and lives of people, detracting greatly from the quality of life, he said. Moreover, essential public services are not available to all, he said.

To improve the situation, the city targets by 2020 to complete the relocation of all 20,000 households and development of the areas along the canals they leave behind.

The city is focusing on mechanisms and policies to attract investors through private public partnerships (PPPs) and efficiently use funds for urban renewal projects.

Tran Trong Tuan, Director of the city’s Department of Construction, said urban renewal projects along the canals in the city are classified into three specific groups: urban development projects using the State budget, construction of housing by private developers together with urban development, and urban renewal projects in the form of PPPs.

For projects in the first group, authorities will directly undertake relocation, clearance, resettlement, and technical infrastructure construction since the areas identified have small canals without adjoining lands of commercial value. There are 52 projects involving the relocation of 14,437 households and estimated compensation payments of around 22.85 trillion VND (over 1 billion USD).

The second group includes three canals and requires relocation of 1,801 households and compensation payment of 2.7 trillion VND (120 million USD). The relocation and resettlement would be funded by enterprises.

The final group has six projects requiring relocation of 6,223 houses and compensation payment of 19 trillion VND (844 million USD).

The plan involves mainly expanding the canal bank on either side and recovering lands in the vicinity to create land lots to hand over to investors in return for developing resettlement housing.

The city organised the conference to unveil the projects and invite private investors to participate in urban development. They can opt to either receive land along canals or invest in BT (build - transfer) mode.-VNA