Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The private sector, farmers and manufacturers will have to contribute their share to upgrading, repairing and building new irrigation systems for their use, according to a draft Law on Irrigation discussed on Thursday by the National Assembly.
The Government will give priority to building reservoirs in areas experiencing major water shortage, those seriously impacted by climate change, regions inhabited by ethnic minorities or off shore islands and other socio-economically disadvantages zones.
Article 15 of the draft stipulates that construction costs of all special and major irrigation works, including those for national defence and security, will be covered by the State budget. However, those who benefit from the products or services of the public irrigation network will have to contribute their part to the construction of the projects, including small, inner field irrigation canals, as well as the secondary and tertiary canals.
According to delegate Nguyễn Lâm Thành, from the northern province of Lạng Sơn, Việt Nam now has 904 big and medium irrigation systems; nearly 7,000 lakes of different categories; more than 10,000 weirs with thousands of sea dykes. “Many of these irrigation works have been degraded and need repair, but no money is available,” said Thành.
Regarding Chapter 5 on the Rights and Obligations of organisations and individuals, the delegates agreed on the need to diversify the funding sources, management and exploitation of all irrigation projects.
Deputy Phạm Văn Tuân from Thái Bình Province agreed that the State budget should be used to invest in major irrigation works while small irrigation works, including inner field canals, should be invested by farmers.
“However, we need a specific roadmap, as we all know that irrigation activities sometimes have to serve political missions and in the fight against natural calamities, particularly climate change,” Tuân said.
Dương Tuấn Quân, from Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province expressed his concern that when the law comes into effect, all organisations and individuals will have to pay irrigation fees. In addition, they will have to bear the cost of building inner field secondary and the tertiary cannals. “I’m afraid to say this will impose a high economic burden on the farmers”, Quân said.
Also yesterday, the deputies discussed the compensation and relocation of residents from the lands designated for the Long Thành International Airport near HCM City.
Deputy Nguyễn Văn Thể from the southern province of Sóc Trăng said it had been two years since the National Assembly promulgated Resolution 94 but the Government has not approved a report on the project’s feasibility and this slow process was worrisome. The deputy also urged the Ministry of Transport (MoT) and other related agencies to counsel the Government in setting up a roadmap for implementation of the project from now until its completion.
Based on such a roadmap, Thể said, the monitoring and observation of the project would be conducted effectively, ensuring its progress.
Regarding land clearance, compensation and relocation, deputy Trần Văn Tuyến from the northern province of Vĩnh Phúc said the project’s scheduled medium-term fund worth about VNĐ5 trillion (US$220 million) had been totally allocated, and according to an initial estimate by Đồng Nai Province, such work would actually need about VNĐ23 trillion. He requested clarification of all the financial sources for the project.
In response to some other deputies’ comments about the investment capital for the project’s land clearance, compensation and relocation, MoT Minister Trương Quang Nghĩa said he would report to the NA about a special policy for such work.
The minister said he expected that after hearing a report on the project feasibility at the 4th session, the NA would consider boosting the land clearance work and creating conditions for investment in the first phase of the project.
“With the current public debt, to invest in the Long Thàng project from the State budget was hard. But if we let private investors get involved, we should have a good preparation,” said Nghĩa. — VNS