Tainan mayor displeased at comparison with Dapu home-razing
By Katherine Wei, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) yesterday expressed annoyance at Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan's (李鴻源) comparison of his city's underground railway project with the controversial Dapu project.
August 22, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
The two cases reportedly share several things in common; both were government orders, and both called for residents to move or have their homes razed, “the two things are exactly the same,” said Su Chun-wen, head of the Anti-Underground Railway Self Help Association.
The Cabinet approved for a segment of the Tainan railway to be relocated underground east of its original location in 2009 under the leadership of then-Premier Liu Zhao-xuan (劉兆玄). The self-help association came together after the project got the green light. They claim the construction plan is illegal and accuse President Ma Ying-jeou of “robbing the people” and Lai of passing the plan.
Residents of a total of 407 homes have been asked to relocate their living quarters in order for the city government to carry out the plan.
According to several local media outlets, Lee had claimed that the two cases are similar “land acquisition plans,” but had raised opposition from different types of protesters, resulting in different public perspectives.
Lai, pronouncing Lee's words an attempt to “save the besieged by attacking the besiegers,” stated that the act of relocating the railway is the wish of Tainan citizens, adding that he will not allow the construction to be halted.
However, the mayor also noted that although it was his duty to launch the construction case by the set date, he will not demand houses to be torn down by force.
The self-help association had proposed its own version of the construction plan to the Tainan government in hopes of reducing the number of homes that would need to be razed, but Lai said the government decided to use the Cabinet's version as it provided means to patch the city — split in halves by the current railway tracks — together.
The government will provide compensation to the affected residents and also a “house-care plan,” allowing affected residents to purchase houses near the railway stations at prime costs, said Lai.
The home demolitions can be finished by 2017 if residents stop their protests, said Wu Zhong-rong, head of the Tainan Public Works Bureau.