“Economic area” turns into a ghost town
  • | | August 10, 2011 12:00 PM

A project to build a new resettlement area in Thanh Hoa Province has remained half-complete and mostly abandoned after a decade, with nobody to take responsibility.

Houses abandoned for years

As planned, local government of the central province of Thanh Hoa would have carried out a project to build up a ‘new economic area’, composed of 25 households, in Yen Giang Commune, Yen Dinh District. However, the project is still only half finished after 10 years.

Currently, dozens of houses have deteriorated after having been being abandoned for several years. Even though it was designed as an economic area, it still hasn’t been equipped with electricity, water supply or a road system.

Abandoned houses

Only two of the houses in Yen Giang Commune economic area are inhibited. These families have lived in bad conditions right from beginning.

Ms. Hong, a resident in the area, said, “We moved to this area after we got married. At first, we were very happy because we thought we would live in the conditions promised by the local government when the project was finished. But nothing about it met our expectations. We’ve had to struggle. There is no electricity, no water and bad roads. But now, because of our financial situation, we have no choice but to stay here.”

The project, which began construction in 2000, was designed to provide accommodation for 25 young families with two to three children each. The idea was to have a low population density, while supporting underprivileged families at the same time.

Not according to plan

Families were selected, and each provided with a 200 square metre lot, along with some money to cover the construction of the house foundation and the drilling of a water well.

Initially, the project was welcomed by the people of Yen Giang Commune. Dozens of houses were built in the area and many young couples moved there with high expectations.

However, while these families were in the process of getting bank loans to build their new homes, the entire project became stagnant. None of the other basic amenities - electricity, water, roads - were ever delivered.

Luu Hong Lam, a resident of the area, shared, “At first, we were very happy. More than ten families were living in the area some years ago. However, with the lack of electricity and water, and no roads most of them were forced to go back to their old houses. It’s been a decade, and this place is still half-completed.”

Mr. Ha, another local man, said, “We are struggling with a lack of electricity and water. But the government’s behavior has only added to our problems. We still haven’t even received money to drill a well.”

Shirking responsibility

When asked about the project, Nguyen Van Hao, Chairman of Yen Giang Communal People’s Committee, said, “I took the office after the project had already started, so I know nothing about the implementation process. I only know that just two out of 25 targeted families are living in the area due to the conditions there.”

Another official, Ngo Thi Hoa, Chairman of Yen Dinh District People’s Committee, said “I don’t know much about this project. I heard that many houses have been abandoned for years, and those still living there are facing a lot of difficulties.”

Do The Hanh, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development explained, “Ten years ago, the project was to be carried out across Thanh Hoa Province. However, a short time later, funding for the project was cut off without informing the people who were living there.”

Those who live there face a tough situation

Run-down houses

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