HCM City leader blames ‘interest groups’ for pavement encroachment
  • | | August 09, 2017 02:14 PM
Vice chairman of the HCM City's District 1 People's Committee, Doan Ngoc Hai, believed that shadowy interest groups are making huge profits from businesses on local pavements, posing obstacles in the fight against pavement encroachment.

Vice chairman of the HCM City's District 1 People's Committee, Doan Ngoc Hai return to deal with violations on street pavements on many streets in District 1, HCM City on August 7.

Speaking with the Nguoi Lao Dong Newspaper on Tuesday about his returning to the clean streets campaign on Monday evening, Hai stressed that the encroachments have become more rampant recently due to a lack of management and supervision from local authorities.

"We can’t have a clean and tidy city if the pavements are in a mess," Hai noted. "We are going take more drastic measures to curb the problems. We'll continue with this task until local people find it ok."

The official expressed his disappointment with the leaders of some wards and said that there must be interest groups at work because of their failures to curb the violations.

"Everyone knows about the huge profits earned by the restaurants or shops on the pavements," Hai explained. "They are making billions of dong a month. So some ward leaders did not follow my instructions. And some others who followed me then also decided to chase the money."

Hai proposed giving the responsibility to chairmen of local wards who should be punished if failing to fulfill this task.

"I see that no one has been punished even if pavement encroachment was rampant again in many wards over the past seven months," Hai said. "And this is not fair to other wards who did their job well".

The vice chairman of District 1 started his campaign against pavement encroachment in the area back in February.

Speaking with the local media at that time, he said that he didn't know how the former managers worked but he would take a radical method to deal with the problem this year. He also said that if he couldn't take back the pavement for pedestrians, he would resign.

Although Hai's campaign received support from the media and local people, many pavements have returned to how they were before a short time after he transferred the work to local ward authorities.

The street vendors have said this is unsurprising as the government haven't offered any effective alternatives.

Luu Le Bich Phuong, chairwoman of Nguyen Thai Binh Ward also said that it was difficult to persuade street vendors to change jobs as working on the pavement is a lucrative job that is not bound by countless regulations.

"The highly-mobile sellers only have to work for a short time and they are not bound by various regulations. They can open and close the businesses in a blink and make large profits. That's why it is difficult to persuade them to change business," she told a recent meeting on the issue.

In an attempt to help local vendors to continue their work while the district is trying to curb pavement encroachment, two venues for street vendors will be opened on a pilot basis on Nguyen Van Chiem Street and Bach Tung Diep Park at the end of August.

Meanwhile, Vice chairman of HCM City People's Committee, Tran Vinh Tuyen, said that this will only be a temporary solution to help local street vendors to earn their living after the pavements encroachment is cleared.

"We will have to find other ways to help them," Tuyen explained. "The streets and pavements should only be used for traffic and pedestrians."

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