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Nov 03, 2020 / 15:34

Hanoi’s first metro line is not allowed to miss another deadline

Hanoi’s first metro line is being delayed eight times and its budget has been overrun several times, which has caused public frustration.

National Assembly delegate Nguyen Phi Thuong from Hanoi has asked the Vietnamese government to remove obstacles to the Cat Linh - Ha Dong urban railway, the first of its kind in Hanoi, so that it can become operational by the end of this year, avoiding missing the deadline again.

Mr. Thuong made the recommendation at a National Assembly sitting on November 3.

Mr. Thuong said that urban railway construction is considered a key lifesaver for Hanoi's traffic problems as it is growing into a megacity. However, the construction progress of these lines still faces a lot of hurdles.

 Deputy Nguyen Phi Thuong speaks at a National Assembly sitting on November 3. Photo: Kinhtedothi.vn

"The project is being delayed eight times and its budget has been overrun several times, which has caused frustration in public opinion," Mr. Thuong said.

He added that competent authorities should urgently draw experiences from this project so that the future ones would not face this issue again.

Mr. Thuong also proposed urban railway planning be linked with urban space and life, because, at present, Hanoi’s commuting plan is not designed towards the reliance on urban public transport, but roads are being filled with private vehicles.

Besides, the National Assembly and the government should have policies to invest in urban railways associated with urban restructuring such as developing the areas along the two banks of the Red river, Mr. Thuong noted.

"It is necessary to evaluate and learn from the experience of borrowing ODA for urban railway construction and be careful with the loan conditions. Loans for urban railway construction are only effective when they are disbursed for a whole line, not a section," Mr. Thuong stressed.

For his part, Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The admitted that the progress of urban railway traffic projects has been behind schedule.

In the near future, the Ministry of Transport will coordinate closely with big cities' administration so that new urban railway projects can avoid repeating such delays, Mr. The said.

Work on the Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line began in 2011 and was originally scheduled for completion in 2013. But several hurdles, including loan disbursement issues with China that were only resolved in December 2017, have stalled it for years.

The metro eventually entered the testing phase in March with all 13 trains. The ministry wanted commercial operations to begin at the end of April, but this deadline was missed again.

Project costs have more than doubled from the original VND8.8 trillion (US$378 million) to VND18 trillion (US$774 million), according to state auditors.

When complete, the country’s first metro line will run 13 kilometers from Cat Linh station in downtown Dong Da sistrict to Yen Nghia station in southwest Ha Dong district.