Construction violations still rampant in Hanoi
Experts say construction violations are still rampant in the capital city of Hanoi, despite a new regime to create district-level inspection task forces.
An apartment complex in Hoàng Mai District, Hà Nội
Đào Ngọc Nghiêm, vice chairman of the Hà Nội Association for Urban Planning and Development, said local authorities were to blame for violations ranging from building without permission or not complying with permits to illegal construction on farm land.
An official from the Hà Nội Construction Inspectorate told the Kinh tế và đô thị (Economic and Urban Affairs) newspaper that there has been a tendency to tranfer construction inspectors from the municipal level to district, ward and commune levels.
In 2016, the Hà Nội People’s Committee issued a decision asking district people’s committees to directly oversee construction inspectors in their localities. The arrangement was meant to help inspectors work more effectively.
Under the new arrangement, the Hà Nội Department of Construction (DoC) will ISSUE guidance while district people’s committees will manage and assign construction inspectors’ duties. Construction inspectors at ward and commune levels have the responsibilities to detect violations and report to the district people’s committees to issue punishments.
After the new management method was applied, the number of staff in the municipal inspectorate was reduced from 200 to 70.
But the number of violations recorded by inspectors has also decreased since September 2016, the official said, adding that only two or three out of 10 violations were reported.
Some inspectors at the ward level have colluded with local authorities to ’turn a blind eye’ on violations, he said. As a result, they were only brought to light and addressed after being uncovered by the media.
Illegal residential construction on farm land took place in a number of localities but wasn’t handled for a long time.
In the latest case, the chairman of Mỹ Đình 2 People’s Committee in Nam Từ Liêm District was suspended from work for mishandling of construction related violations.
The Mỹ Đình 2 People’s Committee reported two projects which did not comply with permits, but the city’s inspectors found up to five projects in violation of the rules.
Similar violations relating to illegal construction on farm land were also recorded in Thanh Trì, Đông Anh and Ba Vì districts.
Local residents said that to get permission for such construction, they just pay an “unofficial” fee ranging from dozens to hundreds of millions of Vietnamese đồng.
Trần Ngọc Hùng, chairman of Việt Nam Construction Association, attributed construction violations to lax management and irresolute handlings of violations by local government. The fact that some investors and residents deliberately defied the law and then sought ways to rationalise their violations, opting to pay fines and enjoy the huge profits of their projects, was also to blame for the problem, he said.
He suggested the city authorities strictly deal with violations. The head of district or ward people’s committee would be held accountable for settling violations. They might face criminal charges in some serious cases, he said.
“In the coming time, the city’s inspectors will conduct inspection at a number of districts, wards and communes where lax management has been reported by newspapers”, said the official from Hà Nội Construction Inspectorate.
Due punishment would be imposed on chairmen of the ward people’s committees if loose management were found to have helped violators, he said.