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City to relocate cemetery for residential area, park

HCM CITY — The municipal administration plans to remove the city's biggest cemetery into suburban districts and use the cleared land for building a residential area and a park.

About 100,000 tombs from the Binh Hung Hoa Cemetery in Binh Tan District will be relocated. The city has ordered an immediate stop to burials and the building of new tombs at the cemetery.

The city People's Committee has tasked the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, the Justice Department and the Binh Tan District People's Committee to discuss ways to relocate the cemetery and submit a proposal to the city People's Council.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment and the Department of Planning and Architecture have been asked to determine appropriate locations in outlying districts for building new cemeteries and crematoriums, and advise the city administration on land clearance and compensation issues.

The city has decided to use its own budget for the relocation.

Pollution fears

According to officials, residents near the cemetery typically use groundwater instead of tap water. The proximity to the cemetery means that the possibility of groundwater contamination is high, posing a serious health hazard.

Moreover the crematorium, which cremates over 100 bodies everyday, also causes air pollution, they said.

The city has asked its Department of Finance to assess the funds needed to build pagodas and temples to store the ashes of cremated people.

Places being considered for relocation include Cu Chi District, Binh Chanh District's Da Phuoc Cemetery or Dong Nai Province's Hoa An Cemetery.

Nguyen Cao Phan, deputy chairman of the Binh Tan District People's Committee, said the 60ha cemetery has around 100,00 tombs and 250,000 people living near the cemetery.

He said that the relocation, estimated to cost VND1.4 trillion (US$72 million), would be completed by 2015.

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