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Control Yuan censures local government, agencies over MRT project woes

2012/08/16 22:43:48

Taipei, Aug. 16 (CNA) The Control Yuan, the nation's highest watchdog body, said Thursday the construction of a mass rapid transit line has damaged a sanatorium, while rising construction costs and delays occurred on the project as a result of poor site selection.

The New Taipei City Government, Department of Health, and Taipei City Department of Rapid Transit Systems have been held responsible for the problems and have been censured, the Control Yuan said.

The Xinzhuang Workshop for the new MRT line, which links Taipei and New Taipei, was scheduled to be built on farmlands east of Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City.

But You Ching, former magistrate of then-Taipei County, and former Xinzhuang Mayor Tsai Chia-fu strongly suggested two other sites, citing land development concerns and commercial interests.

The workshop was eventually built partly on the site of the sanatorium, invoking strong protests from youths, scholars and civic groups who think the historic Lo-Sheng complex should be preserved.

The Control Yuan said the selection of the site for the Xinzhuang Workshop was a fundamental error that resulted in several problems.

For example, extreme engineering methods had to be used to deal with geological problems such as a reverse fault in Xinzhuang, which drove up the construction cost by NT$8.5 billion, caused a delay of 88 months and gave rise to engineering safety risks, the government watchdog said.

The Control Yuan blamed the Taipei City Department of Rapid Transit System, saying it has not rigorously screened the design plans and had ignored the risks of excavating a hilly site. This resulted in damage to the sanatorium and the suspension of work on the project, the watchdog said.

The Control Yuan also found fault with the Department of Health, saying the department's sloppy handling of the land acquisition at the sanatorium and the relocation of the patients there had resulted in construction delays.

(By Sophia Yeh and Lilian Wu)
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