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Friday,  Dec 15,2017,17:17 (GMT+7)

Wrong solution

The Saigon Times Daily
Monday,  Oct 9,2017,18:32 (GMT+7)
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Wrong solution

The Saigon Times Daily

Faced with prolonged protests by drivers who demand that some tollgates must be relocated to the right places, the Ministry of Transport has finally had its say, which will most likely be unheeded. On Saturday, the ministry issued a correspondence approving of a petition by the Vietnam Directorate of Roads to lower the toll fees for all vehicles passing through the tollgate on National Highway 1A in Dong Nai Province’s Trang Bom District by 20%, effective from November 1. The move is apparently meant to soothe the public anger, but does not seemingly cure the root problem.

Just like the case of the tollgate on National Highway 1A in Tien Giang Province’s Cai Lay Town, which was forced down by drivers two months ago after just a few days in operation, a private firm named Dong Thuan developed a bypass for Bien Hoa City in Dong Nai Province under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) format, but erected the tollgate on National Highway 1A in Trang Bom District, 10km from the bypass. The investor has been operating the tollgate since July 2014 to recoup its investment. In the past few weeks, drivers have noisily protested the tollgate’s operations, and in several occasions paralyzed traffic on the highway.

The crisis peaked last Friday when the tollgate was also rendered inoperable, and has remained so ever since.

Drivers and transport enterprises have demanded that the highway section be returned to them free of charge, and that the BOT investor relocate their toll station to the bypass that connects Trang Bom District with Long Thanh District on National Highway 51. Several State agencies have stepped in, and the Ministry of Transport has finally decided that the fee be slashed by 20%, as mentioned early on.

However, such a move is not what the public has asked for. The simple reason is that the ministry cannot resort to a wrong solution to cure a wrong decision from the beginning.

In fact, prior to the construction of the bypass, upon the Transport Ministry’s proposal to allow for the BOT investor to install the tollgate on National Highway, the Ministry of Finance had stated clearly that the chosen position was wrong. However, “in order to encourage the investor, the Transport Ministry should consider and decide a suitable position,” Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper quotes a correspondence dated November 17, 2009 signed by Deputy Finance Minister Pham Sy Danh.

Among nearly 100 tollgates for BOT road projects nationwide, only a few are not located in the right places. Therefore, the right solution must be to relocate such tollgates to ensure fairness for all stakeholders. For certain cases where negotiations to relocate tollgates fail, the Transport Ministry should take full responsibility to reimburse the investors, after subtracting the total toll fees they have collected.

Certain illnesses require thorough operations to remove the tumor, since applying oil on the skin only to soothe the pain will not be effective. Only the right prescription can cure.

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Giấy phép Báo điện tử số: 321/GP-BTTT, cấp ngày 26/10/2007
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