HCM CITY — About 5,000ha of arable land left unused in the planned industrial parks in the southern provinces of Tay Ninh and Long An will be returned to local rice farmers, according to provincial authorities.
About 1,150 hectares of arable land in seven towns and districts in southern Tay Ninh Province will be returned to local rice farmers under a decision taken by provincial authorities to cancel several industrial complexes that have not taken off.
The Tay Ninh People's Committee have asked authorities of districts and towns that are home to the suspended projects to publicise the decision of land return and encourage the residents to focus again on agricultural production.News about the cancellation of suspended industrial complexes have come has a huge relief to farmers who had lost their land to these projects.
Ho Minh Hai, who has 1.5 hectares of rice fields in the Bau Don Industrial Park in Tay Ninh's Go Dau District, said: "The plan to turn this area, which includes my rice fields, into the Bau Don Industrial Complex a couple of years ago made me sad, because how can a landless farmer feed his family?"
"So it is not a surprise that we are very happy to hear about the cancellation of the suspended industrial complex project!"
Tran Van Minh, chairman of Bau Don Commune People's Committee, said over 170 households were affected by the Bau Don IC, which was established in 2009.
"But so far no investor has leased land from it," said Minh.
Meanwhile, residents affected by the project were not allowed to build houses or transfer their land use rights in the area.
"That's why they are happy on hearing about the cancellation of Bau Don IC," said Minh.
Huynh Van Quang, deputy chairman of the Tay Ninh People's Committee, said the ICs cancelled were among 23 covering 1,149ha planned by the province in the past decade. The ICs, which are located in remote areas, have been cancelled due to poorly-developed infrastructure, which has kept investors away.
"The long period of inactivity in these projects has disadvantaged affected families," Quang admitted.
He said only two of the 13 existing ICs in Tay Ninh are operating. Provincial authorities have granted licenses for investment in development infrastructure for four others ICs, he added.
Quang said: "We have been considering the cancellation plan for the past two years. Land should be revoked from ICs that do not operate effectively, and returned to the people for production."
For the farmers
Authorities in southern Long An Province have withdrawn 57 industrial and other licences since 2009 and taken back more than 3,000 hectares of agricultural land to return to farmers.
The projects involved development of industrial parks and golf courses.
Le Cong Dinh, deputy director of the province's Department of Planning and Investment, said officials from various agencies have formed a committee to inspect all projects licensed in the province.
They have worked closely with investors to examine the status of their projects and make a decision about cancelling or extending the licence and reducing their scope, he said.
The province would reduce the use of rice fields for industrial and other projects, and even retrieve lands with high yields that have been handed over for such projects, he added.
Local farmers have been overjoyed to hear the news: "I am not worried any more about losing land to a golf project," Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper quoted farmer Tieu Thi Thanh as saying.
Thanh, who grows rice on a 0.6ha plot of land in the province's My Phu Commune, is among 600 farmers who have got their lands back following the scrapping of a 280-ha golf project.
Le Van Cho, another farmer, said he felt safe about his rice field.
Long An's policy of returning land to farmers , the first province in the country to do so, is expected to boost rice production. — VNS