|Forest destroyers load timber onto motorbikes to move it out of the forest in Kon Tum Province. – VNA/VNS Photo Cao Nguyên|
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has ordered the People’s Committee of Central Highlands province of Kon Tum to continue investigation into deforestation and illegal timber transportation in the province.
The requirement was made following news coverage reported by Việt Nam Television and Tin Tức (News) newspaper of Việt Nam News Agency on deforestation which occurred in broad daylight on a plantation owned by Đắk Glei Forestry Single Member Limited Company in Đắk Glei District.
Upon requirement of clarification by the Prime Minister on June 25, the provincial People’s Committee reported that the five people cutting down the forest used chain saws to cut down six big trees, the largest of which had a trunk measuring 70cm across.
Head of the forest protection and management station of Đắk Glei Forestry Single Member Limited Company was suspended from work as he was reportedly not on duty at the time the incident occurred.
The Prime Minister ordered strict punishments for the groups and individuals related to the violation and sought measures to prevent similar incidents from happening.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has been assigned to work with relevant agencies to study a proposal of Kon Tum Province’s People’s Committee to amend and add regulations on forest protection and development laws with a view to stiffening penalties.
Deforestation is among the main reasons leading to losses of forest areas in Central Highland provinces. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said deforestation in the region has been exacerbated in recent years, leading to a decrease of 300,000 hectares of forest area during 2010-2014.
In the first five months of this year, there were 1,724 violations of forest protection and development regulations reported. — VNS