Hanoi authorities don’t care about schools, pollution: lawmakers

July 17, 2009
Part of a Transport Ministry road project in Hanoi’s Thanh Xuan District.

The Hanoi city government has failed to ensure enough schools for the increasingly crowded and polluted city, local representatives said at the capital’s municipal legislature meeting this week.

Representatives from the city People’s Council, which acts as the local legislature, also blamed the city government for misreporting a street ground-clearing project that has outraged some 200 families for the past eight years.

The city People’s Committee, which acts as the municipal government administration, was present at the meeting to hear the complaints leveled against it.

Give kids a chance

The city continues to build new urban areas without building schools while current public schools in the city center are overcrowded and getting worse, Deputy Nguyen Thi Ngoc Minh told the meeting Thursday.

“How long will the administration wait before it makes investors build schools?”

Deputy Ngo Van Ny said the Hanoi government should set out large-scale and long-term plans to develop schools.

Otherwise, downtown Hanoi would face a severe school shortage over the next 15 years as four- to five-story apartment buildings are being upgraded into 10-15 story ones, doubling and tripling the populations in some areas, he said.

Ngo Thi Thanh Hang, vice chairwoman of the city People’s Committee, said the committee is planning to order the investors at 100 of the city’s new urban areas to set aside land specifically for schools.

Yet deputy Le Quang Nhue said the city should have followed up on that plan a long time ago as the process had begun in 2007.

Hang admitted the project was late and promised to speed up the work.

‘Are we wasting intelligence?’

On Wednesday, representative Nguyen Viet Hung said the city government had ignored many ideas aiming to clean up the pollution currently suffocating the city.

Tenth-grader Nguyen Thi Thu Trang was honored by Water Environment International in Sweden in 2005 for her idea to clean Hanoi’s Bay Mau Lake using clay, Hung told the session. “But no one here cares about the idea.”

He also reminded the session of police officer Dao Ha, who once made headlines with his idea about using water from the Red River to clean the To Lich River. But no agencies have stepped in to prove or disprove his idea.

“Are we wasting intelligence?” asked Hung.

“The city government should consider the ideas of both scientists and non-scientists.”

Hanoi is discharging around 5,000 tons of solid waste every day while effluents from urban areas, industrial zones, hospitals and craft villages flow straight into the city’s rivers without being treated properly.

Representative Bui Thi An said Hanoi should have a special agency responsible for environment protection and providing updates on municipal environmental conditions every month.

False reports

Representative Vu Duc Tan complained that ground-clearance work on a major street project through Thanh Xuan District was moving at a snail’s pace.

For eight years, many families in the area have been waiting for compensation from the Transport Ministry project.

“It is a problem for residents but the city still ignores their interests.”

Tan asked the Hanoi administration to give a firm answer as to when it would honestly inspect the ground-clearance work.

Residents in the area have been complaining that inspectors have come to check the work several times but acted as if they were “just sightseeing,” he added.

Vu Hong Khanh, vice chairman of the city People’s Committee, denied the complaints, saying the committee has never ignored the residents’ concerns or falsely reported about the work to the central government.

Tan said he was saddened by such a reply. “If the issue was that simple, it wouldn’t have been discussed by the National Assembly.

“The core of the problem here is that the city government has not followed the plan the Prime Minister ratified.”

Ngo Thi Doan Thanh, chairwoman of the Hanoi People’s Council, stopped the conversation by asking the committee to answer deputy Tan later in written form.

Reported by Viet Chien

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