A map for the planning of Ho Chi Minh City‘s Thu Thiem new urban area, which has been considered the most important part of the city’s modern development, has gone missing, officials told reporters on Wednesday.
“We have not been able to find the map,” said Nguyen Thanh Nha, director of the city’s Department of Planning and Architecture. He said that the city’s government agencies have been ordered to review all previous sources and consulting units in charge of the project, as well as the central government agencies.
The map is one of the two key documents that form the legal basis for the planning of the Thu Thiem new urban area project to the city’s east, besides a prime minister’s decision issued on June 4, 1996. Since 1995, many units which were originally in charge of the map have moved. They said they no longer have it in their possession.
Vo Van Hoan, chief of staff of the city’s People’s Committee, said that agencies are looking for the map, dismissing claims that it did not exist in the first place. The project had been approved with adequate papers. The Thu Thiem new urban area in District 2 spans 657 hectares (1,623-acre) across the Saigon River from the city’s central District 1. It is set to become one of the biggest international financial and commercial centers in Southeast Asia.
To develop this megaproject, the city had to spend 10 years moving 15,000 households out of Thu Thiem Peninsula to make room for the project, and had to pay affected households nearly VND30 trillion ($1.32 billion) in compensation. Many relocated households however have had disputes with the project’s operators regarding its defined boundaries and filed lawsuits against its developer.
At a meeting with the city’s chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong in 2016, representatives of the households with disputes claimed that their land did not lie inside the project’s area and therefore shouldn’t have been reclaimed. They also requested the city to show them a map of the project’s planning to clarify its boundaries, but the authorities were unable to fulfill this request at the time.