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Salt plant blamed for damaged crops

Update: February, 06/2012 - 10:12

NINH THUAN — Many farmers in central Ninh Thuan Province's Phuoc Minh Commune have been protesting outside an industrial park's salt-making company demanding payment of damages for salt intrusion in their fields.

A representative from the park is reported to have promised to advance each household VND10 million ($480) in mid-January as compensation for damaged crops.

However, residents have not received anything, Chairman of Phuoc Minh Commune's People's Committee, Tran Quoc Hoan, told Viet Nam News on Thursday.

Earlier, the People's Committee of central Ninh Thuan Province ordered the park's investor, Ha Long Investment Development Co. Ltd, to compensate the residents.

Since the salt-making park opened in 2009, it has polluted more than 600 wells in the area, making the water salty and unuseable. The saline water has also damaged tens of hectares of crops and trees, causing economic losses for more than 300 local households.

"Total damage is estimated at more than VND20 billion (US$960,000), Hoan said.

"Before a water supply station was built for the residents, they had to buy fresh water from other areas for daily use because their own water was unusable," he said.

"Many people had to leave their homes to work in other areas as the land around the industrial park became non productive."

Random tests on 17 wells by the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment revealed that the level of salt in the water was 16 to 72 times higher than the permitted level.

The 2,500ha Quan The salt-making industrial park has a design capacity of 300,000 tonnes of industrial salt a year. — VNS

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