Hanoi’s long-delayed Cat Linh - Ha Dong metro line needs to be put into operation as soon as possible, preferably before October, Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Vuong Dinh Hue told local media on June 8.
Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Vuong Dinh Hue tells local media on June 8. Photo: Kinhtedothi.vn
The municipal Party secretary named pending issues which need to be addressed for the metro line to become operational.
Of the 13 safety certificates required for the metro’s commercial run, Hue said, the project has obtained 12, the remaining certificate will be given by the French consultancy Apave-Certifier-Tricc (ACT) after the its evaluation.
So far, the trial operation of the railway has been delayed as over 100 Chinese experts have been unable to return to Vietnam due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Hue said, adding that all projects employing foreign experts are encountering this problem.
The Hanoi Party chief said that the Chinese experts would be put under quarantine after arriving in the city in accordance with disease prevention protocol.
Another issue hindering the inauguration of the metro line is the payment mechanism and audit conclusions which have not been radically addressed, Hue said.
He stressed that Hanoi will be the operator of the metro line, so the city would also be in charge of repaying the loans.
Besides, Hanoi Railroad Corporation has trained staff for the project management and operation. However, the longer the project is delayed, the more difficult it is to retain the workforce, the Hanoi Party chief noted.
“Hanoi’s authorities have planned to work with the Ministry of Transport to find ways to put the Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban railway project into commercial service as soon as possible,” Hue said.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had requested the Ministry of Transport to put the project into operation right in 2020.
At a National Assembly discussion session on Vietnam’s socio-economic development, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc stressed the most important issue of Hanoi’s first metro line is safety, but the Chinese general contractor has not handed over dossiers for the Vietnamese side to evaluate it.
The PM expected the project to become operational before the 13th Party Congress, which is set to take place in the first quarter next year.
Work on the Cat Linh - Ha Dong railway, which covers around 13 km, began in October 2011 and was originally planned for completion in 2013. Many deadlines have been missed.
The total initial investment of the project was US$552.86 million (in 2008), including US$133.86 million from the Vietnamese government and US$419 million borrowed from China. However, it has overrun to US$868 million, with loans from China increasing by around US$250 million to US$669 million.
Vietnamese media has been critical of this project, saying it's a debt trap by the Chinese side and a demonstration of typical low quality of Chinese-invested projects in Vietnam.