Nguyen The Thao, chairman of the People’s Committee of Hanoi, on March 22 ordered the Construction Department to suspend the high-ranking officials concerned from duties to facilitate an inspection into the controversial plan to chop down a staggering 6,700 trees on 17 streets to grow new ones.
Two days earlier Thao ordered a halt to the plan as the public staged protests against the massive tree felling campaign sponsored by enterprises and organizations including the trade union of the Hanoi Public Security Department.
Faced with strong public protests, corporate sponsors such as VPBank, Vingroup and Binh Minh late last week rejected their responsibility for the felling of trees, saying they had no role in the implementation of process and got no benefits from it.
After the plan sparked public outcries last week, Nguyen Quoc Hung, vice chairman of the city, said sponsors had put pressure on the city government to speed up work on the project.
In a statement released last week, Hanoi said Vingroup, VPBank, Binh Minh Technology JSC, Ha Thanh Construction-Investment-Consulting JSC and other organizations and individuals sponsored the project.
However, most of those entities told local media that they only gave financial support to a tree planting scheme in response to the city’s appeal.
Le Khac Hiep, vice chairman of Vingroup, said his firm just provided VND840 million for the plan and played no role in implementation.
“We were asked to sponsor the city’s plan to upgrade Hue and Hang Bai streets by replanting trees. Vingroup has no (property) projects there (on the two streets). We have no interests but our sponsorship is for the benefit of the local community,” Hiep said.
Tran Tuan Viet, head of media and marketing at VPBank, said the bank often aids tree planting as a community activity in the capital city, so it sponsored this project.
VPBank was invited to join tree planting on Nguyen Chi Thanh Street with the trade union of the Public Security Department, but it did not know when the project began and what trees would be replaced.
VPBank only offered sponsorship, Viet said, adding if the city called for enterprises to sponsor tree felling, the bank would never support it.
The plan, according to Hanoi authorities, is aimed at felling old dead and rotten trees and those obstructing traffic, and replacing them with new trees. But in reality, all the trees, including those several decades old and in good condition, were indiscriminatively felled.
Đăng ký: VietNam News