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HCM City gets serious about improving road safety




The overpass at the Cát Lái Intersection in HCM City’s Thủ Đức city connecting with the Hà Nội Highway and under-construction metro line No. 1. — VNA/ Photo Trung Tuyến

HCM CITY — HCM City aims to reduce the number of road accidents and deaths and injuries by 5-10 per cent this year, its People’s Committee Chairman, Phan Văn Mãi, told a recent meeting.

“The transport sector plays a big role in the city’s COVID-19-pandemic response and socio-economic recovery plans.”

It developed quick, flexible and effective solutions to ensure smooth circulation of essential goods and transport of people, and pandemic prevention works to preclude the risk of supply-chain disruption, he said.

The city would give priority to transport infrastructure development in 2021-25, he promised.

Several key ongoing projects would be completed soon and work on many others was scheduled to begin by the end of this year.

The city also wanted to restart work on Ring Road No. 2 and begin Ring Road No. 3 this year.

It would continue to upgrade the smart traffic monitoring and operation centre, which would help identify congestion and reduces the need for traffic police officers on-site.

The centre staff could also operate traffic lights and notify the police in case of accidents.

The chief of office of the city Traffic Safety Committee, Nguyễn Vũ Hạnh Phúc, said transport infrastructure system and traffic safety would be improved.

The city still had four so-called black spots where accidents occurred regularly and 19 traffic jam sites, he said.

Last year the city recorded 1,784 traffic accidents, 477 deaths and 1,042 injuries, a big improvement from the previous year.

“This was the fifth consecutive year in which the city saw a drop in all three criteria,” Phúc said.

Traffic accidents decreased sharply last year partly thanks to four months of social distancing and travel restrictions due to the pandemic.

The Traffic Safety Committee has launched this year’s campaign with the theme ‘Building a safe traffic culture associated with effectively controlling COVID-19 pandemic.’

The campaign seeks to raise public awareness of traffic safety, reduce the number of accidents and victims, reduce traffic jams, improve management and control of safety, strengthen patrols and crack down on violations, and prevent the pandemic from spreading through transport activities. —



Review finds threatened langur species in mountain in southern Vietnam



Seven groups of black-shanked douc langurs (Pygathrix nigripes), an endangered species, are living in Chua Chan Mountain in Dong Nai Province, southern Vietnam, according to a local review.

The People’s Committee of Dong Nai announced the result of the review, of which the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development took charge, on Friday.

The seven groups include around 159 to 192 black-shanked douc langurs, which have grown well and are in the expanding stage of population growth.

In particular, each herd has adult and semi-adult males and females, juveniles, and newborns. 

Officers also noticed the langurs’ separating from their original herd and merging into a new group during the review process.

A pregnant black-shanked douc langur is spotted in Chua Chan Mountain, Dong Nai Province, Vietnam. Photo: V. Dung / Tien Phong

A pregnant black-shanked douc langur is spotted in Chua Chan Mountain, Dong Nai Province, Vietnam. Photo: V. Dung / Tien Phong

In addition, the officers identified 154 plant species that are food for the black-shanked douc langurs, accounting for 48.7 percent of the total plant species in the reviewed area. 

The langurs do not eat bark, other animals, and insects.

The related departments of Dong Nai have proposed a number of urgent solutions for conserving these rare packs of langurs.

Chua Chan Mountain, also known as Gia Ray or Gia Lao Mountain, is the second-highest mountain in Vietnam’s southeastern region after Ba Den Mountain in Tay Ninh Province, with an altitude of 837 meters.

It is one of the charming and unique landscapes in Dong Nai and an attractive tourist destination for nature exploration. 

The mountain has been recognized as a national scenic relic since 2012.

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Workers in need of affordable social housing



An affordable social housing zone in Định Hòa Ward, Thủ Dầu Một City, in the southern province of Bình Dương. VNA/ Photo Chí Tưởng

BÌNH DƯƠNG — Nguyễn Thị Huệ Lan wants to buy an affordable social house, but she has been unable to access the market.

Lan is from the southern province of Bình Phước but has lived and worked for many years in Thủ Dầu Một City, Bình Dương Province.

After saving for a long time, Lan is looking to buy a social house this month as her long-time residence. But she has found that many of them already have owners and new projects are not yet ready.

Hữu Phước, from Bến Tre Province though now in Bình Dương Province, said that he has recently moved into a new 30-sq.m social house, which he bought for VNĐ200 million (US$8,500).

In order to buy the house, Phước had to sign up a year ago. Workers cannot buy houses without waiting as the demand for social houses was very high. All social houses are sold right after being built.

Phước said that social houses used to be sold at VNĐ100 million ($4,200), which is suitable for low-income workers, but prices have risen since. The reason for house price increases is that construction materials have increased, pushing up social house prices and making it more difficult for low-income workers to access the market.

Bùi Minh Trí, the head of the Bình Dương Management Board of Industrial Zones, told Vietnam News Agency that the province had 28 industrial zones attracting more than 1.5 million workers, mainly from other provinces. Therefore, housing demand is very high.

The province has implemented many policies to build thousands of social houses at reasonable prices for employees, to create favourable conditions to live and work in the province.

Bình Dương Province has invested in 86 social house projects over nearly 200ha. However, this is not enough to meet demand.

Phạm Ngọc Thuận, general director of the Investment and Industrial Development Corporation (often called Becamex IDC) said that the province had completed 47,500 social houses for workers and low-income people. However, as demand is still very high, the project could not keep up with the people’s needs.

At present, Becamex IDC is building 20,000 social houses in Thuận An City, Thủ Dầu Một City, Bến Cát Town and Bàu Bàng District with a total investment of about VNĐ9.5 trillion ($405.8 million). The first stage is scheduled to be completed at the beginning of next year.

The houses will be sold for between VNĐ120-500 million ($5,100-21,300) each, depending on area and type. Workers can also hire them out for VNĐ750,000 ($32) per house per month.

Bình Dương Province is striving to build one million social houses for workers in the period 2021-25, with a vision to 2030.

Director of the provincial Department of Construction Võ Hoàng Ngân said that the province plans to have one million social houses for workers to create better living conditions for them.

The lease and sale of social houses are managed based on regulations.

The department encouraged boarding house owners to upgrade their houses to the department’s standards to raise workers’ living conditions.

People borrowing money to build or repair boarding houses will receive preferential policies.

Chairman of the Bình Dương People’s Committee Võ Văn Minh said that as the province developed industrial production, social housing for low-income people was very important and has received much consideration from the province.

The province encourages people to invest in building social houses to make stable residences for workers.

In the northern province of Thái Nguyên, where around 200,000 workers live in industrial zones, more than 60 per cent of workers come from other provinces, meaning the demand for social houses is always high.

Trịnh Việt Hùng, chairman of the Thái Nguyên People’s Committee, said that the province now had 50 places approved to build social houses.

However, he said, it was difficult to implement the project because capital from the State budget was limited.

The province has called for investors to join the work of building social houses for workers.

On the other hand, the province will also have supportive policies for workers to buy social houses with preferential interest rates from banks.

It is scheduled that in August this year, the province will have started two social housing projects of more than 1,600 houses.

By the end of last year, Việt Nam completed 266 social house projects with more than 142,000 houses, with a total area of more than 7.1 million square metres. —



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Hà Nội builds safe agricultural production areas



Experts from the Hà Nội Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Hà Nội Agriculture Promotion Fund visit a chicken raising model for clean eggs with high productivity in Liên Châu Commune, Thanh Oai District in Hà Nội. — Photo courtesy of the Hà Nội Sub-department of Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries Quality Management

HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội’s agricultural sector has strengthened safe agricultural areas to ensure sustainable production and provide a source of clean food for domestic and foreign consumers living in the capital city.

Nguyễn Giáp Đông, head of the Ba Vì District’s Economic Division, said that the district currently maintained a safe tea production area spanning 1,550ha and productivity of 10.5 tonnes per hectare per year. The output for the whole year is estimated at 16,275 tonnes of fresh buds, worth VNĐ350 million (US$14,900) per hectare per year.

To help farmers maintain and expand safe production areas, Ba Vì District has supported and created favourable conditions for localities to innovate technology, ensure raw material sources and well manage tea quality.

It builds trademarks, product brands protected by intellectual property; builds good models of safe tea production and processing following Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practises (VietGAP) process.

Thanks to that, the district has successfully built the Ba Vì tea brand.

In Đông Anh District, Nguyễn Anh Dũng, deputy chairman of the district People’s Committee, said that the district had 1,180ha of vegetable production area including more than 500ha of large-scale safe vegetable production.

To control safe vegetable products’ quality, the district has promoted education to raise people’s awareness about limiting pesticides. As the result, the amount of pesticides decreased by about 15 per cent compared to previous years. Farmers have learned to use organic fertilisers, herbs and ensure food safety.

Regarding Hà Nội’s plans for safe agricultural production areas, Nguyễn Thị Thu Hằng, director of the Hà Nội Sub-department of Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries Quality Management, said that the whole city currently maintained over 5,000ha of safe vegetables areas including 43 vegetable planting models applying the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) with a total area of 1,700ha.

Hà Nội also maintaines more than 1,300ha of vegetables, fruits and tea according to VietGAP standards, 181ha of aquaculture in the direction of VietGAP, 88 livestock centres applying VietGAP standards and nearly 50ha of farms following organic agriculture standards.

Besides, Hà Nội continues to develop 141 chains of safe agricultural products manufacture and consumption.

Safety-oriented production not only helps farmers sell at prices which are 10-15 per cent higher than traditional products, but also helps sectors manage quality of products sold on the market.

To create sources of clean and safe food from large-scale production areas, Nguyễn Mạnh Hồng, director of the Đức Phát Hi-tech Agriculture Cooperative in Yên Mỹ Commune, Thanh Trì District, said that Hà Nội needed to invest in infrastructure in collective production areas, support cooperatives and enterprises in capital with preferential interest rates when building safe production farms.

The capital city should also open training courses on high-tech application production, associate with enterprises to consume safe products, said Hồng.

Deputy chairman of the Ứng Hòa District People’s Committee Ngô Tiến Hoàng said that the district continued to create favourable conditions to attract more and more potential enterprises to invest in agricultural production, expanding the scale of farm production areas and high-quality rice areas.

The district will expand high-tech safe vegetables to 170ha, specialty fruit trees with brands in the market to 600ha, expand aquaculture areas in the direction of efficiency, sustainability, ecological environment protection in Hòa Lâm, Trầm Lộng and Trung Tú communes.

Director of the Hà Nội Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Chu Phú Mỹ said that in the future, Hà Nội’s agriculture sector would continue to work with local authorities to expand centralised production organisations together with high-tech applications, ecological agriculture, organic agriculture and advanced quality management systems.

The department will continue to guide and support enterprises to invest in agriculture, multiply safe production models, support farmers with capital from the Hà Nội Agricultural Promotion Fund to expand production scale, creating a source of clean food with clear origin to provide to consumers. —


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