HCMC gears up to open first metro line to traffic by 2020

Before the Tet (Lunar New Year) Festival wrapped up, staff and cadres at HCMC Urban Railway Management Board (MAUR) had returned to work with the high determination of solving identified difficulties, completing 80 percent of Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro line project by the end of this year and preparing for implementing many new metro projects.

Construction in progress at Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro line project in Binh Thanh district, HCMC (Photo: SGGP)
Construction in progress at Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro line project in Binh Thanh district, HCMC (Photo: SGGP)

Director of MAUR Bui Xuan Cuong said that difficulties in building the first metro line had been identified at the end of the Year of the Dog. Hence, the board will start solving them in order to build 80 percent of the project’s work volume in 2019.

Talking to Sai Gon Giai Phong on February 9, the fifth day of the lunar new year, Mr. Cuong said that employees in the consultant division of the project had been present in the board’s office to work. In the following week, other divisions comprising contractors and supervisors would restart on February 11.

Difficulties of the project comprised project adjustment, disbursement to contractors and contract extension to partners, he said.

Last year, construction progress reached only 62 percent failing to meet the target of 65 percent. Hence, this year, it is needed to speed up all sides to complete 80 percent of the metro route so as to open it to traffic by 2020 as per schedule, he said.

To materialize the determination, the board has recently proposed the city People’s Committee to give the first phase advance of VND2,248 billion on the city’s budget to pay to contractors who had done items of the project last year. The committee gave VND1 trillion in advance in 2018 taking the total to VND3,273 billion (US$141 million) so far.

Besides solving financial difficulties, the board has planned to stabilize human resource. Previously as many as 55 employees of the project had quitted for many reasons. With the city People’s Committee’s permission, the board is willing to receive capable and experienced ones knowledgeable about international practice to return to work at the board and recruit new ones.

City Government commits utmost assistance

Deputy chairman of the city People’s Committee Tran Vinh Tuyen said that the competent authorities have approved capital adjustment for the first and second metro line projects.

In the upcoming time, HCMC leaders commit to creating advantageous conditions for the board to best perform their work. The city People’s Committee will consider and solve the board’s proposal about the advance for the first metro line as soon as possible.

The second metro line project, Ben Thanh-Tham Luong, affects 602 households with the total area of 251,136 square meters. So far, 105 cases have received compensation. Of these, 54 have handed over premise.

Mr. Tran Vinh Tuyen required relevant districts to speed up site clearance and resettlement for residents. MAUR should prepare procedures for opening consultant bid invitation. He prompted districts where the project runs through to hasten and facilitate contractors’ construction and report difficulties beyond their jurisdiction to the city People’s Committee for solving.

He tasked the Department of Finance to consider and submit to the committee an income increase project for employees at the board according to Resolution 03 of the city People’s Council. The resolution has been issued on the spirit of the National Assembly’s Resolution 54.

Board employees working overtime will receive additional payment in line with the law. Mr. Tuyen said that these employees will work until the project is done and complete their mission so he underlined the need of creating the best conditions for them to set their minds at rest to work.