BOT project problems to be solved this year: Minister

Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The said that problems related to BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) projects will be basically solved in 2018 at a press conference yesterday.

Chaos at Cai Lay BOT toll booth on November 30, 2017 (Photo: SGGP)

Chaos at Cai Lay BOT toll booth on November 30, 2017 (Photo: SGGP)

The conference was attended by representatives from the Government Office, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Information and Communications.
So far, the Transport Ministry has applied toll cut or exemption at 51 out of 55 BOT projects which have come into operation. However, insecurity and disorder has progressed complicatedly causing traffic jam at toll stations such as Trang Bom, Soc Trang, Can Tho-Phung Hiep, Song Phan, Ninh An and Cam Thinh.
Besides reasons reported by press agencies, the ministry said that the situation had been caused by problems in choosing toll booth positions and toll level policies at some projects.
Toll collection has been unfair in highways as many residents do not use the road or just use part of the road but they have to pay for the entire route.
In addition, work and service quality by investors has been limited. Some projects have been downgraded and damaged soon after being opened to traffic.
Propaganda has not been efficient in guiding residents to abide by regulations. Many localities have been afraid of tackling those for causing insecurity and public disorder at BOT toll stations.
Answering press queries about responsibilities of teams and individuals including Minister Nguyen Van The for problems at BOT toll stations, the minister said that he singed Cai Lay BOT project contract while being deputy Minister of Transport without self-interest, group benefit or wrongdoings.
At present, projects in National Highway 1A and Ho Chi Minh Highway are being inspected and audited by central authorized agencies. Violators will be held responsible and publicly announced.
Replying to the question that why the ministry has not given a common solution to prevent drivers’ opposition against BOT toll stations in many different localities, Mr. The said that each station had its own problems and reasons which need be considered carefully.
In the upcoming time, the ministry will classify reasons for cases occurring at BOT toll booths to tackle each station, he added.
Minister The affirmed that the ministry will listen to all suggestions by residents and step by step tackle issues to ensure benefit harmony among relevant sides.
Strictly handling troublemakers
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc signed a dispatch yesterday about ensuring security and order at BOT toll stations.
The dispatch specifies that besides good sides, traffic BOT projects have showed some problems and limitations which need be settled to ensure development targets, social and economic efficiency and improve state management to this form of investment.
The problems have been taken advantage of by malefactors to incite residents to oppose toll collection, causing insecurity and public disorder and affecting traffic safety and investment attraction to traffic field.
Tensions at Cai Lay BOT toll gate in Tien Giang province and some others have complicatedly progressed without drastic actions to handle the situation by local party executive committees and authorities.
Some localities are unaware of the gravity of the issue in which malefactors exploit the issue for other purposes, considering handling to be mission of the transport industry.
In case of not being solved, the complex situation at toll stations especially those in southern provinces will be exploited to destruct Party and State policies.
In order to restore security and order at BOT toll stations nationwide, the Prime Minister required local party executive committees and authorities, especially secretaries of provincial and municipal party committees and chairmen of people’s committees, to direct relevant sides to tackle the issue and strictly handle those inciting residents to cause social disorder and deliberately sabotage Party and State polices according to the law.
The Ministry of Transport should immediately supply the Ministry of Public Security with documents about troublemakers and those supplying wrong information complicating the situation to strictly handle.
The PM also assigned the Ministry of Public Security to work with the Ministry of Defense, local police forces and province and city people’s committees to consider handling objects for deliberately breaking regulations; drivers with traffic hindering behaviors such as deliberately stopping their vehicles at toll booths and leaving to do other works, destroying equipment at toll gates; organizations and individuals with perturbative, opposing, destroying and reactionary behaviors.
They should be prosecuted in case there are enough factors of constituting crime, he asked.

By BICH QUYEN – Translated by Hai Mien

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