Residents in the Mekong Delta Province of Tiền Giang are worried that the construction of a fruit park will alter the currents of the Tiền and Cái Bè Rivers and intensify landslides on Cai Lậy District’s Tân Phong Islet.— Photo tuoitre.vn
TIỀN GIANG — Residents in the Mekong Delta Province of Tiền Giang are worried that the construction of a fruit park will alter the currents of the Tiền and Cái Bè Rivers and intensify landslides on Cai Lậy District’s Tân Phong Islet.
The Tiền Giang Fruit Park Project seeks to turn Cái Bè District into an eco-tourist attraction, with orchards and traditional craft villages. Part of the project has been built directly atop the rivers.
Nguyễn Văn Tùng, 63, owner of Năm On Resort on Tân Phong Islet, said the water flow had shifted in the past six months since the developer started making embankment on the river. In his observation, the current had been stronger and the water appeared to be deeper now, he said.
“All the business that I have set up for years will be ruined if the subsidence continues”, Tùng told the Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper.
Nguyễn Thị Quế Hân, the owner of a nearby tourist spot, shares her fears.
Although she had spent a large sum of money on consolidating the embankment around her house, she was still afraid that her property might be lost.
According to Nguyễn Hữu Thiện, an expert on the ecology of the Mekong Delta, the river encroachment definitely caused currents to change. He added that not only Tân Phong Islet but also the park would suffer from subsidence.
Dương Văn Ni, another expert from Cần Thơ University, agreed with Thiện, the orchard park project would surely result in landslides on Tân Phong Islet and on the other side of Cái Bè River.
Nguyễn Hoàng Thảo, director of the Management Board of Investment and Construction Projects in Cái Bè District, the fruit park project’s developer, said that 6.8ha of the total 9.78ha project had been reclaimed from the river.
The project is adjacent to the Tiền River and Cái Bè River.
He said it would not affect the flow of the river and the transportation in the region as it is located at a shallow section, which is between 1.278 and 1.294 metres deep.
Most of the land that had been claimed from the river was for the park and fruit garden, Thảo said. Specialties like Hòa Lộc mango and Cổ Cò grapefruits will be planted there.
Thảo also said the 13,000 sq.m or 1.3ha of land located in areas with favourable transport and good scenery would be dedicated to develop restaurants, cafes and tourism facilities.
The rest of the land is for traffic infrastructure and parking lots.
Trần Thanh Đức, chairman of Tiền Giang Province’s People’s Committee said the Fruit Park project was approved by local authorities in October last year with an area of about 9.29ha along the Tiền River, at a total cost of VNĐ280 billion (US$12.4 million). After discussions with the developer, the local authorities agreed that the project would cover 9.68ha and investment capital would be VNĐ375.5 billion (US$16.7 million). The project is slated to be complete by 2020.
Before the project’s approval, an assessment on the environmental impact of the project was conducted, which showed that the project would leave little impact on the river’s current, he said.
The project’s developer was asked to ensure that the implementation of the project would not affect the environment.
In the near future, the local authorities would order competent agencies to deal with subsidence issue, Đức said.
In a related development, the Department of Water Resource Development under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has sent a document requesting the Tiền Giang Province’s Natural Resources and Environment Department inspect the area where the project is situated and submit a report on its impact to the ministry.
The order was made after local residents expressed their concern that the fruit park would subsume part of the Cái Bè River. — VNS