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Dong Nai halts river construction

Update: March, 30/2015 - 10:00
Dong Nai Province authorities on Friday called a halt to reclamation of the Dong Nai River for construction of housing. — Photo nld

HCM CITY (VNS) — Dong Nai Province authorities on Friday called a halt to reclamation of the Dong Nai River for construction of housing.

A document issued by the People's Committee said the suspension would enable it to seek opinions from the ministries of Natural Resources and Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, and Construction on the legality of the project and its possible environmental impacts.

A People's Committee official told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that Toan Thinh Phat Investment – Architect – Construction JSC, the developer reclaiming the land, had asked to suspend work until the issue was fully resolved.

Dong Nai authorities had approved the suspension just because it "respected the investor's proposal," he said.

On Friday, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Bui Cach Tuyen wrote to the provincial authorities saying the project investors should have sought the opinion of the council for environmental protection of the Dong Nai River basin, and especially local authorities in the basin, before going ahead with the reclamation.

At a monthly press briefing by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) on March 27, another deputy minister, Nguyen Thai Lai, said, "This project must abide by the Law on Water Resources."

"We never received any official information about the project from Dong Nai authorities".

Hoang Van Bay, head of MoNRE's Department for Water Resources Management, concurred, saying, "We never received any documents related to this project."

Bay said the project would reclaim 7.7ha from the river while another area of it is located in the Dong Nai River corridor.

In a dispatch to Dong Nai authorities on the same day, Tuyen said water from the river played an important role in the socio-economic development of 11 cities and provinces in its basin, supplying clean water to millions of people living in its lower reaches.

The investors should have considered the possible impacts the project could have on the environment, he said.

The press briefing came a few days after the Ha Noi-based Viet Nam River Network said reclaiming such a large area would critically interfere with the river's hydrology and ecology as well as the local economy and society, and called for cancelling the project.

In 2009 the province had approved a report titled "Dong Nai River's water flow impact assessment from Hoa An to Ghenh bridge" done by the Irrigation University's Irrigation and Environment Institute. The report said reclaiming land 100m into the river from shore would not change the water flow or have any adverse impact. — VNS

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