|Illegal sand exploitation takes place along the Red River. — VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tấn
HÀ NỘI — Stricter punishment, particularly criminal charges, should be imposed on illegal sand exploitation activities, said Politburo member and president of the Việt Nam Father Land Front Central Committe, Nguyễn Thiện Nhân.
Leading an inspection team to visit the capital city of Hà Nội on Wednesday, Nhân urged city authorities to speedily complete the plan on sand exploitation and implement auction sand-mining rights on the Red River’s riverbed.
As one of the key areas of sand exploitation, Hà Nội should be the pioneer in restoring order in the activity, according to Nhân.
Nguyễn Quốc Hùng, deputy chairman of Hà Nội People’s Committee, said the city has 26 sand mines, of which 11 mines have not yet been granted licences.
The city authorities have undertaken measures to put an end to illegal exploitation, which has become complicated in the area, Hùng said.
Last year, Hà Nội Police settled 217 cases involving illegal exploitation, seizing 246 vessels and collecting over VNĐ4.4 billion (USS$194,000) from administrative fines, he said.
Since the beginning of this year, the city police have detected 85 cases related to this activity, seizing 72 vessels, he said.
However, Hùng said, challenges lie ahead in dealing with violations in sand and pebble exploitation as violators are often seen quickly moving from one area to another to avoid inspection by a competent agency.
Đinh Văn Toàn, deputy director of the Hà Nội Police, said existing fines and other penalties were not severe enough to deter illegal sand miners, adding that some 30 per cent of violators resumed activities despite being penalised earlier.
Specifically, criminal charges had been filed in only one out of 217 illegal sand mining cases detected last year, he said.
Toàn attributed the low rate to the fact that it was difficult to determine the effect of illegal exploitation on the environment before imposing the criminal charge as regulated by the State.
While praising the efforts of city authorities in sand exploitation management, Nhân emphasised the need to closely monitor the points for sand gathering and trading.
He suggested assigning specific supervision tasks to mass organisations, for example, the local Father Land Front coordinate with residents in monitoring mineral exploitation activities.
Earlier, the Hà Nội People’s Committee has announced a plan to auction sand-mining rights in the bed of the Red River.
The move aims to improve the management, exploitation and use of sand, besides bringing the potential of minerals of the region into full play, attracting investment and increasing the State budget. — VNS