Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Night after night, thousands of cubic metres of sand and gravel have been illegally mined from a portion of the Cầu River, causing erosion and affecting the dyke system for 200ha of agricultural land, online newspaper phapluatplus.vn reports.
The paper’s reporters witnessed the illegal mining at the section of Cầu River that passes Cốc Lương Village of Tân Hưng Commune in Sóc Sơn District. Boats and barges operated under cover of darkness from 8 p.m. until early the next morning.
People on boats and barges dug up sand and gravel close to the foot of the dyke, the newspaper reported. High-capacity sand sucking equipment operated regularly. At night, a barge took away hundreds of blocks of sand and grave.
Most of the illegal sand mining boats were here for “yellow” sand and gravel, a natural resource that currently fetches a high price.
With such big benefits, more and more illegal sand miners appeared and employed tricks to evade the oversight of local authorities.
Nguyễn Văn Thu, Tân Hưng Commune Party’s Committee secretary, said owners of illegal sand mining boats were people from Cốc Lương Village. Their close ties to the area complicated the situation of illegal-mining, as they cannot be dismissed as outsiders stealing local resources.
As a consequence of illegal sand mining, hundreds of meters of mudflats suffered erosion every day and night.
The eroded areas were close to the embankment, threatening the safety of the dyke system surrounding the two communes of Tân Hưng and Trung Giã.
More dangerously, 200 ha of cultivated land in four villages lie just a few meters from the foot of the dyke. The farmers of the land now face the prospect of a dyke break.
Thu said Cốc Lương Village’s seriously eroded area was formerly under the management of local households. In recent years, they agreed to sell to a local company.
The company was licensed to engage in agricultural production and trade, not sand mining.
It was impossible to resolve the current situation because local authorities lack police forces and equipment to conduct arrests and issue sanctions. — VNS