Pavement clearing movement raises question about the role of state officials
  • By Bich Diep | dtinews.vn | March 23, 2017 02:08 PM
 >>  HCM City leader vows to resign if pavement encroachment not dealt with
Vice Chairman of HCM City's District 1 Doan Ngoc Hai might be popular due to his pavement clearing movement, but people question whether other officials have the same passion and determination.

If pedestrians had to walk on the streets as there was no space left on the pavement before, now they are impressed with the wide and uncluttered pavements in HCM City. Motorbikes are no longer parked messily and guards of local restaurants are more aware of blocked pavements.

The credit must be given to District 1 Vice Chairman Doan Ngoc Hai who started the movement to clear the pavement. "We’re determined to take back the pavement for the pedestrians. We won't abandon the project halfway through like previous years. Our aim is to develop District 1 as neat and clean like Singapore. I'll resign if I can't take back the pavement," he said.


Vice Chairman of HCM City's District 1 Doan Ngoc Hai

Many people suspected his determination and mocked that he only wanted to show off. But after two months, the movement is still going strong and is still news. Hai went out to inspected the situation and was willing to reason with and punish violators. He said he won't cover up for anyone.

From five-star hotels, headquarters of state agencies to dozens of restaurants, they have been fined for encroaching on the pavements to earn profits. It takes courage to damage the money bags of so many people and the power that have been backing them.

On March 21, Hai ordered to remove 11 steps entering the New World Hotel. "Three-star, five-star hotels are the same. We have to be fair and return the pavements to 13 million citizens," he said.

He insisted that there were no 'untouchable areas' or agencies that are above the law. His motive is to take back the space for 13 million people in HCM City. His work may cause some disputes but his motive that is manifesting everywhere is admirable and a lesson for other officials.

Other provinces and cities such as Hanoi and Hue are also clearing the pavements in their own ways. Hanoi Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung said he would carry out the task quietly but firmly so that people wouldn't ignore the regulations after a short time.

However, many people still try to use the pavements for commercial gain when officialdom is lax. Chung announced that there were officials involved in restaurants. In 180 street beer vendors, 150 are backed by police officials, he said.

"The citizens have expectations for the authorities. If we keep working at a leisurely pace then how can the society improve?" Hai said.

When even petty issues like the harassment by police of the Xin Chao Cafe or abusive use of public cars must be reported and handled by the prime minister, one must question the roles of state officials. In such context, Hai's action has raised trust in many people and they hope that his determination will spread to other officials.

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