HA NOI (VNS)— Riparian communes should be asked to stop permitting individuals or firms to set up sand-gathering sites on the banks of the Red River, the Ha Noi Department of Natural Resources and the Environment has said.
The department has asked the municipal People's Committee to issue an order to this effect.
It has also asked that persons who have signed or facilitated the so-called "temporary or yearly land agreements" or "land allocation contracts" with individuals and organisations on setting up sand-gathering sites alongside the Red River Dyke should be held accountable individually and/or collectively.
The department has instructed its district-level branches to check the origin of sand gathered at these sites.
A recent inspection conducted by the department found 140 such sites established on alluvial fields along the 17.5km-long Red River section that runs through Ha Noi. Most of these were illegal and others were operating under temporary agreements or contracts awarded by commune authorities.
Dyke management agencies have reported that the heavy traffic of trucks transporting sand from these sites have damaged road surfaces on the dyke and spilled out sand, causing environmental pollution and threatening traffic safety.
The inspection team visited three communes – Lien Mac, Thuong Cat and Thuy Phuong – in Bac Tu Liem District and found 17 sand storage sites there.
Local authorities told the inspectors that they had discovered these illegal sites earlier, fined them and ordered them removed. However, the owners of these sites have yet to abide by the order, fully or partly, they said.
In Gia Lam District's Yen Vien, Kim Lan, Trung Mau and Phu Dong communes, the team found seven sites operating under a temporary contract granted by the commune authorities.
Fifteen others could not produce any legal documents. On contacting the district government, the team was told that this was still being investigated.
In Thuong Tin District, where seven illegal sites were found in Hong Van and Ninh So Communes, the team was told by the Thuong Tin Dyke Management Division that they'd sent official notes to the heads of these communes, asking them to take action, but this has had no impact. — VNS