The Ministry of Construction and the World Bank on Jan. 17 held a meeting to discuss a 600 million USD project to upgrade six urban areas in the Mekong Delta region.

The project involves upgrading the water supply and sewerage systems in Can Tho, My Tho, Ca Mau, Tra Vinh, Cao Lanh and Rach Gia.

"The programme is part of the national urban area upgrade strategy that runs until 2020", pointed out Do Tu Lan, deputy head of the ministry's Urban Development Department.

The World Bank provides 65 percent of the project's investment, worth 390 million USD. The Vietnamese Government covers the remaining 35 percent.

It is estimated that the project will directly benefit 142,000 people and indirectly improvingthe living conditions of a further 1.4 million.

In addition, loans worth 20-30 million VND (952-1,428 USD) will be made available to 12,000 households to renovate their homes.

Investment in upgrading roads and sewerage systems will be given priority.

About 112.7 million USD has been earmarked for projects to improve Can Tho city's irrigation system, clean up Bung Xang Lake, dredge Ngong and Nhieu cannals and renovate a number of roads in Ninh Kieu district.

Loans totalling 73 billion VND (3.4 million USD) will be made available to 3,000 families to upgrade their houses.

The ministry and World Bank officials plan to meet again in June and September and approve the programme in December. It is expected that the project will be implemented early next year.

The wider national infrastructure upgrade progamme was launched in 2007 in HCM City, northern Nam Dinh province, Hai Phong and Can Tho. About 2.2 million people in the four localities have so far benefited from the programme./.