|Last week four large ferries carried sand from Phu Quoc to the Singapore-flagged Ocean Colossus. Thus far more than 230,000 tonnes of sand have been transported to Singapore. — Photo tuoitre.vn
Compiled by Le Hung Vong
Kien Giang Province authorities have urged the Ministry of Natural Re-sources and Environment and Navy to stop the export of sand mined by dredging Naval Port Zone 5 in Phu Quoc Island and then to stop the dredging itself since it caused erosion along the coast.
In a dispatch to the Kien Giang administration, the People's Committee of Phu Quoc Island said the dredging of the channel into the military port has eroded around a kilometre of coast, destroying many trees and posing a further threat of erosion.
The dredging is being done by Duc Long Ltd and Hai Viet JSC.
The work, which began in mid-2010, was suspended soon afterwards following a ban on export of sand by the Government in June 2010.
However, the Government exempted the project contractors, allowing them to continue exporting sand.
Last week four large ferries carried sand from Phu Quoc to the Singapore-flagged Ocean Colossus.
Thus far more than 230,000 tonnes of sand have been transported to Singapore.
Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper quoted a source from the Kien Giang administration as saying that Duc Long and Hai Viet have dredged the passage and exported sand, but have yet to report how much they sold or pay the fees prescribed for excavating mineral resources.
Meanwhile, many construction projects are under way on Phu Quoc Island, many licensed by the Government, and they require huge volumes of sand for ground levelling.
In a dispatch to the Government, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and Navy, the Kien Giang People's Committee urged them to suspend the exports and use the sand for the construction works in Phu Quoc.
It also called for suspending the dredging and taking urgent measures to stop the coastal erosion.
But in a reply, Rear Admiral Doan Van So, Commander of Naval Force Zone 5, said dredging the passage was "imperative and urgent" for military purposes.
Duc Long and Hai Viet had violated clauses in the contracts and so in mid-November this year Naval Force Zone 5 cancelled them, he said.
He claimed the erosion was caused by the impact of climate change and changes in the water flow rather than the dredging.
He also said any decision to call off the work can only be made by the Navy High Command and not his unit. HCM City has 246 safe food selling points
HCMC firms get food safety backing
HCM City's industry and trade and health departments have announced a list of 246 sales points that sell safe foodstuffs produced by five companies.
At a conference on food safety chain models on December 7, deputy director of the Department of Industry and Trade, Nguyen Ngoc Hoa, said three suppliers and two retail chains have met Vietnamese Good Agriculture Practice (VietGAP) standards and got certificates for food safety.
They are the Viet Nam Meat Industries Co Ltd (Vissan), Saigon Food Processing and Animal Breeding Co (Sagrifood), and Da Lat-based Anh Dao General Agricultural Service Cooperative.
Vissan sells VietGAP pork at 221 outlets — 28 belonging to Co.opmart, 87 to Co.op Food, 75 to Satrafoods, and 31 to Vissan.
It also supplies beef imported from Australia and slaughtered under ESCAS standards.
Sagrifood, a subsidiary of the Saigon Agriculture Corporation, also supplies VietGAP pork, chicken and processed foods to supermarket outlets belonging to Co.opmart and Co.op Food and sells them in its five stores.
Anh Dao Cooperative distributes vegetables and fruits meeting VietGAP and Good Agricultural Practice (GlobalGAP) standards and products recognised for food safety at its 20 convenience stores in HCM City's districts 1 and Phu Nhuan. It also supplies Co.opmart and Co.op Food and some Satrafoods stores.
Saigon Co.op will supply more than 4,000 essential items and fresh foods meeting VietGAP, ISO, HACCP, and GMP standards at its 176 Co.opmart, Co.opXtra, and Co.op Food outlets.
During the Lunar New Year holiday in early February, Saigon Co.op will sell 95,000 tonnes of fresh food including 16,000 tonnes of vegetables, fruits, chicken, and pork and more than 12 million eggs.
Satra will supply safe vegetables at its two Satra shops and 68 Satrafoods stores as well as VietGAP pork.
Hoa said the certification and announcement of the sales points are the first stage in reorganising food sources and processing safe and quality food with clear origins.
The trade department would continue to connect and support producers and distributors to ensure a steady supply of quality products.
Littered with stalled projects
Quang Nam Province is facing a slew of problems caused by delayed and suspended projects.
Lang Chai Resort in the ancient town of Hoi An is one such stalled project. The resort, located on a 22ha area of Thong Nhat Beach, has changed hands four times since being licensed 13 years ago and not making a start, leaving 183 families whose lands were acquired for the purpose in limbo.
The 20 members of wounded soldier Nguyen Duoc's family, a resident of Ha My Dong hamlet (where Lang Chai Resort is located), have had to live in a small house for the past decade because they are not allowed to repair or expand it.
All households in Ha My Dong also suffer from poor and deteriorating transport, education and health facilities.
According to figures from the province People's Committee, 42 projects have been licensed along the coast. Three of them, First Quality Management, Logi 3 JSC, and T. I. D. I, have had their licences cancelled following long delays.
Tran Van Tri, a former director of the province Department of Planning and Investment, said the licensing of many projects without assessing their investors' financial capacity was one of the reasons for the problems faced by Quang Nam with regard to stalled projects. — VNS