The transport sector has taken strong measures to reduce the number of serious traffic accidents, focusing on upgrading road and railway infrastructure systems, Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The has said.
In an interview with the Vietnam News Agency, The affirmed that in 2019, the Ministry of Transport will pay attention to reducing traffic accidents, strictly handling aviation safety incidents and solving problems related to BOT projects.
According to the minister, in 2018, the number of traffic accidents was reduced by 6.7 percent and the number of injured people by 13.1 percent,but the number of deaths due to traffic accidents dropped by only 0.4 percent - much lower than the target of 5 percent.
The attributed this to low awareness of drivers, violations of regulations of traffic safety such as drinking alcohol or using drugs and pressure on professional drivers.
In the near future, there will be a number of binding regulations on the responsibility of owners of vehicles, even in particularly serious fatal accidents, allowing vehicles in accidents to be confiscated permanently while the driver can be banned from driving forever.
“In particularly serious fatal accidents, vehicles causing accidents can be confiscated permanently while the driver can be prohibited from driving forever,” he said.
The also also admitted the weaknesses of road infrastructure system.
Vietnam has more than 24,000 km of road with many bridges, he said, noting that about 5,000 km of road need to be upgraded annually but the current maintenance fund for this is very low, only meeting about 20-30 percent of demand.
The ministry has directed the Directorate for Roads of Viet Nam (DRVN)to build a project on road maintenance, The said, adding that it considers maintenance and repair of the utmost importance.
The railway system is currently very weak,he said, noting that there are 5,719 crossings along the railway line, so it is very difficult to ensure traffic safety.
The Ministry of Transport has launched a project to construct overpasses and detours at crossroads, which needs more than 7 trillion VND.
On aviation safety, Minister The said the industry has recently seen problems affecting security such as aircraft technical quality.
The ministry will work with aviation safety technical staff to ensure absolute safety for landing, while inspecting both domestic and foreign pilots to rule out unqualified pilots.
The ministry has assigned the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to work with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and aircraft manufacturers to analyse the causes of each accident and handle the crews, businesses, airports as well as management agencies.
When violations are detected, the ministry will handle them strictly, he said, stressing that special supervision will be put on airlines with many problems.
With the aviation sector, when a light incident occurs, the ministry will withdraw take-off and landing permits, and if serious incidents occur, stronger measures will be taken.
Per the direction of the Party Central Committee Secretariat, the Government will issue new and stricter regulations.
Overall handling of BOT projects-related problems
Regarding build-operate-transfer (BOT) transport projects, Minister The said all BOT projects have been supervised by ministries and localities in line with legal regulations.
However, he admitted the great number of BOT toll stations in certain areas has forced people to bear high transportation fees.
The ministry is focusing on evaluating and taking solutions to BOT projects that have problems and is sending monthly reports to the Government to take plans and actions to handle the, the official said.
He touched upon difficulties facing the transport sector in managing BOT projects, saying that the ministry is still reporting to the Government to submit a solution to the NA.
The Ministry of Transport cannot decide to suspend or dismantle any BOT toll station, he said, stressing that if the NA agrees, it can spend tens of trillion VND to solve some projects.
However, he noted that the five-year budget has been almost entirely allocated, so hopefully capital can be arranged for 2020-2025.
Regarding delays of construction of transport projects in the last two years, The said the construction cannot be started because it is necessary to strictly implement the Law on Public Investment.
In 2019, the ministry will deploy several key projects, namely the North-South Expressway to the East and Long Thanh International Airport in the southern province of Dong Nai, The said, noting that these projects basically meet the construction progress.
For Long Thanh International Airport, the Government has approved the site clearance project, and the Ministry of Transport is working with local authorities to organise compensation work in 2019.
As many as 11 projects related to the North-South Expressway have been approved, he said.
According to the minister, areas required for clearance will be notified to relevant localities in April 2019.As much as half (about 7 trillion VND) of the capital for the clearance work arranged by the NA is expected to be disbursed in the year.
Disbursement advance will be implemented for three State budget projects, which will be constructed in 2019. For eight public-private partnership (PPP) projects, the selection of contractors is scheduled to be completed in September, while that of investors for the projects will be fulfilled in late 2019 to prepare for construction in 2020-2021.
The ministry will carry out international bidding widely to select investors. The State will manage the price frame, and investors can be active in adjusting it, the minister said.-VNA