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City to examine controversial hospital project   2009-03-04 - SGT


The HCMC government has ordered an inspection of a humanitarian hospital project said to cost up to US$70 million after the local media had an intensive news coverage of this controversial project.

Le Hoang Quan, chairman of the city, told the HCMC departments of health, planning-investment and the Saigon South Authority to look into any irregularities in the project which recently got off the ground even though it had not been licensed.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the 600-bed Hai Thuong Humanitarian Hospital project was organized in Binh Chanh District, which is a gateway to Mekong Delta provinces, on February 21. Nguyen Thi Hong, director of the HCMC-based Institute of Planning Research for Urban Development Strategy (UPI) and co-founding member of the project, has denied this groundbreaking ceremony, saying it was just a presentation of the project to the public.

According to a Government degree which guides the implementation of the Construction Law, investors cannot break ground for a construction project until they have obtained an investment certificate, a construction license and an approved design.

Hai Thuong Humanitarian Hospital Management Group and an Australian firm called SAMCO Group are the investors of the project.

Nguyen Van Chau, director of the Health Department, said his department had been ignorant of the project and that the city planned to develop four hospitals at the city’s gateways but Hai Thuong was not among them.

A statement issued by Hai Thuong hospital project management last week said the Ministry of Health had agreed in principle on the project in October 2007 and was supported by the government of Hanoi City.

However, Tuoi Tre reported the HCMC government had turned down the project on April 25, 2008. City vice chairwoman Nguyen Thi Thu Ha concluded that since the project was located at an intersection of Nguyen Van Linh and Nguyen Huu Tho streets, the city could not approve it.

She suggested the project owners contact the departments of health and planning-investment for advice.

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