15 June 20 VN Explorer Source  A multimillion-dollar flood prevention project in Ho Chi Minh City may fall behind its scheduled launch date in November if delays in the handover of cleared sites persist, according to the developer.

On Monday, leaders from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ho Chi Minh City administration inspected construction sites on Tan Thuan, Phu Xuan, Muong Chuoi, and Cay Kho floodgates.

The floodgates are part of a VND10 trillion (US$430 million) project to control tidal flooding with climate change taken into account.

The developer has mobilized around 1,200 workers and engineers to work around the clock to finish the project by October this year.

Nguyen Tam Tien, general director of Trung Nam Group, said on Sunday work on the project had been 78 percent complete.

Tien pointed out the tougest components of the project, including underwater constructions, had been finished. The remaining workload involves equipment installation.

Sluice gates have already been in place while flap valves are being installed in major sewers, according to the executive.

Trung Nam Group will prepare qualified technicians for technology transfer, he said.
Sluice gates that are part of a VND10 trillion ($430 million) tidal flood control project in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam are seen in this photo taken on June 14, 2020. Photo: Duc Phu / Tuoi Tre

Another hurdle to the project involves site clearance, Tien said, noting that around a dozen households near the Muong Chuoi floodgate in the outlying district of Nha Be have yet to hand over their land to local authorities.

"The investor has already transferred compensation fees for those households and organizations affected by the project to local authorities. If the site is handed over right this June, the project will be finished in October this year," Tien was quoted by Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Saigon) newspaper as saying.

The workload on the Cay Kho floodgate in the suburban district of Binh Chanh has been about 70 percent complete, due to delays in site clearance, he added.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Hoang Hiep spoke highly of the investor's efforts, and urged the municipal government to hand over cleared land in a timely fashion so the project would have been up and running by November this year.

Meanwhile, the city's vice-chairman Le Thanh Liem said the project would play a crucial role in coping with tidal flooding, so it has commanded special attention from local residents and authorities.

Liem asked district officials to settle site clearance issues as soon as possible to keep the project running on schedule
Sluice gates that are part of a VND10 trillion ($430 million) tidal flood control project in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam are seen in this photo taken on June 14, 2020. Photo: Duc Phu / Tuoi Tre

The project, whose work started in mid-2016, aims to control tidal flooding as a response to climate change.

It is expected to benefit around 6.5 million city dwellers in a 570-square-kilometer stretch of land on the right bank of the Saigon River and in downtown Ho Chi Minh City.

It will also help regulate water levels in city canals, improve local water drainage, and beautify the landscape of nearby areas.

To make room for the project, around 1,400 residents in urban Districts 1, 4, 7 and 8, as well as the outlying districts of Binh Chanh and Nha Be, have been forced to relocate.

The municipal administration has spent nearly VND26 trillion ($1.11 billion) worth of public and private funds on flood control projects over the past five years, according to the Center for Technical Infrastructure Management under the municipal Department of Construction.

At least 25 out of 36 heavily flooded sites have been handled during the five-year period, the center said, noting the number of such sites has dropped by 104 since 2008.