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Saigon to Turn Largest Cemetery Into Park, Residential Area

In an effort to tackle Saigon’s overpopulation, municipal authorities recently approved a plan to convert the city’s largest cemetery into a residential area.

Located in Binh Tan District, Binh Hung Hoa Cemetery is currently Saigon’s largest graveyard, spanning 48 hectares. Before other facilities like the Go Dua and Da Phuoc Cemeteries were built by the city, Binh Hung Hoa housed around 100,000 tombs.

Nguyen Minh Nhut, vice chairman of the district, shared with DTI that the city plans to turn the area into one of seven new residential zones.

Specifically, 26 hectares of the burial ground will be home to a new park, while the remaining 22 hectares are to be auctioned off to private investors. Nhut also added that of these 22 hectares, 12 are earmarked for a residential area and shopping center.

The initiative is expected to bring in VND2.5 trillion (US$113.7 million) in revenue, part of which will be used to relocate the thousands of remaining graves at Binh Hung Hoa.

Saigon authorities have expressed wishes to move the cemetery elsewhere since 2008 due to environmental and security concerns. Binh Hung Hoa’s creation was completely impromptu and began before 1975. As the surrounding areas have urbanized rapidly, the patch of land has also become a breeding ground for criminal activities.

The relocation process for the cemetery’s 75,000 graves only started in 2016, reports VnExpress. Saigoneers were given until October 31 of this year to move their loved one’s remains elsewhere. At the moment, there are still approximately 3,500 unclaimed graves at the site.

[Photo via Zing]

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