Nghệ An households live in fear as road construction suspended

Many households in central Nghệ An Province’s Nghi Xá Commune have been forced to live in downgraded houses as the project of N5 road construction lagged behind schedule. — VNA/VNS Photo

NGHỆ AN — Households in central Nghệ An Province’s Nghi Xá Commune have been living in fear as their homes have been seriously downgraded for the past ten years.

They can’t rebuild or repair their houses as they are in the way of a road project, which has lagged behind schedule. The homes are in an area slated for site clearance. 

Meanwhile, the authorised agencies have not come up with any solutions for the issue.

Nguyễn Kế Thọ, a 72-year-old resident in Nghi Xá Commune’s Village 4, as well as his children and grandchildren, are living in a 50-square-metre house.

The house was built 35 years ago. The four walls and roof of the house are now dilapidated and worm-eaten. Thọ had to use bamboo sticks to prevent the house from collapsing.

Thọ said his family were not allowed to rebuild or repair their house as they were told they would move to a resettlement area soon.

Ten years have passed. They are still living in the same house, which is now seriously downgraded. Thọ said he reported to the local authority about the state of his house last year and proposed building a new house next door.

Thọ said his house was in the way of the project. However, the project has been left unfinished for years and there have been no updates on when it would be completed.

The authorities have not offered any solutions, saying the project needed funds from the State to continue.

Thọ said he had no choice but building a new house as the current one was at risk of collapse. He has complied with the State’s policy for keeping the house as is for over ten years. 

In 2008, Thọ, as well as 14 other households in the commune, were informed they were to be moved to make room for the N5 road construction project.

In 2009, these households were given part of the compensation for their crops and land when the project was halted.

Nguyễn Kế Lợi, a 48-year-old resident in Nghi Xã Commune, said he only wanted to know if the project would be implemented and when it would be completed.

He said he just wanted to settle down. 

The N5 road construction project was invested by the Southeastern Nghệ An Economic Zone Project Management Board in 2008. The project had investment capital of more than VNĐ760 billion (US$32.9 million) in the first phase.

The road was nearly 7km long and 56m wide, passing through the communes of Nghi Thuận, Nghi Long, Nghi Xá and Nghi Hợp.

The project completed construction of 4.3km and has been suspended since the end of 2009.

Phùng Mạnh Hồng, chairman of the communal People’s Committee said 14 households didn’t receive compensation for their land and homes.

Hồng affirmed that most of the houses were downgraded. He has reported the situation to higher level authorities for solutions.

Phan Cảnh Thịnh, Deputy Director of the Southeastern Economic Zone Project Management Board said that the project was halted due to a lack of capital from the Government. 

So far, the project’s first phase has only disbursed VNĐ298 billion ($12.5 million).

The management board has sent a document to the local government, in which it encouraged households to repair their houses instead of building new ones as it would affect site clearance compensation.

He said the management board has built a medium-term capital allocation plan worth VNĐ462 billion ($19.5 million) in the 2021-26 period. The plan has been submitted to the competent authorities for approval. — VNS

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