The Control Yuan yesterday censured the former Taipei County government, now the New Taipei City (新北市) Government, for its selection of a site for a maintenance depot for the Sinjhuang (新莊) line of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system that led to a partial demolition of the Losheng (Happy Life) Sanatorium for leprosy patients.
The Control Yuan also censured the Department of Health and Taipei City’s Department of Rapid Transit Systems for their handling of the case.
The construction of the Sinjhuang line, part of which has gone into operation earlier this year, had long been delayed since its original plan was put forward to demolish the sanatorium to make way for the maintenance depot.
Following continued protests, the government revised the plan to accommodate preservation of part of the sanatorium complex, the first leprosy hospital built by the Japanese colonial government in the 1930s and the only public sanatorium for leprosy patients in Taiwan.
Although part of the complex has been reserved, the ongoing construction of the maintenance depot caused severe damage to the sanatorium.
Control Yuan member Chen Yung-hsiang (陳永祥), who led a group in probing the case, charged the New Taipei City Government with selecting the site for the depot mainly because then-county commissioner You Ching (尤清) and then-Sinjhuang mayor Tsai Chia-fu (蔡家福), could benefit from property development.
Taipei’s City’s Department of Rapid Transit Systems was charged with responsibility for the damage caused to the sanatorium.
The Control Yuan members said that the department failed to thoroughly review the design of the construction and overlooked the risks that construction of the transport line posed to the sanatorium.
The Department of Health was charged with relocating the sanatorium residents to a new building, which sparked human rights concern, the Control Yuan said.