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Ministry rejects three land conversion proposals

Update: November, 23/2020 - 07:53


The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development asked Ninh Bình Province not to convert land designated for special-use forests and protective forest to carry out mineral exploitation for Duyên Hà Cement Plant. Photo

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has turned down proposals from Bình Thuận, Quảng Nam, and Ninh Bình provinces for forest land to be used for several projects.

The projects include limestone exploitation in Ninh Bình, the Hòa Thắng 1.2 wind power project in Bình Thuận, and building roads to the Ngọc Linh Ginseng production area in Nam Trà My District, Quảng Nam Province.

In a document sent to the Ninh Bình Province People’s Committee, the MARD said the conversion of natural forest designated as special-use forest and protective forest for mineral exploitation activities was prohibited under Decree 83/2020/NĐ-CP.

The project failed to meet criteria for converting to other purposes, it said.

Earlier, the provincial People’s Committee submitted a plan on forest land conversion to implement a project exploiting limestone for the production of Duyên Hà Cement Plant. The province wanted to change the land-use purpose of 38.17 hectares of natural protective forest land.

The proposal from Bình Thuận provincial People’s Committee to convert forest land to carry out the Hòa Thắng 1.2 wind power project was rejected for a similar reason.

The MARD said following a Government resolution on land-use for 2016-2020, the land allocation for the project was 60ha. But the province just mentioned that 29 out of a total of 45.41ha of the project is natural forest, and information about the rest has not been disclosed by the provincial authority.

Because it didn't satisfy the requirements, the proposal hasn’t been referred to Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc who decides on forest-use conversion. 

The land conversion for the project building roads to Ngoc Linh Ginseng production area on the Măng Lùng-Đắk Lây route in the central province of Quảng Nam’s Nam Trà My District was turned down for several reasons.

The MARD said the provincial People’s Committee didn’t clarify the natural forest area of Ngọc Linh Nature Reserve that was supposed to be converted. Therefore, there were no grounds to determine whether the project met the criteria for land conversion or not.

The ministry also said the approval of the project’s environmental impact assessment report was not relevant in terms of authority.

In line with Government Decree No. 18/2015/NĐ-CP,  the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is authorised to approve such a project.

Climate change, extreme weather, and natural disasters have become more and more common, causing floods and severe landslides in some localities, threatening the lives of many people.

Although there is no official conclusion about the cause, the public and experts believe the reduction of natural forests has harmed the environment and increase erosion, especially in Quảng Nam Province.

The MARD recommended local authorities of Quảng Nam and Bình Thuận provinces carefully consider the proposals on the conversion of forest land as well as other activities which might leave an impact on the natural ecological balance of local coastal and mountainous areas.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development asked Ninh Bình Province not to convert natural forests under the planning of special-use forests and protective forest to implement mineral exploitation for Duyên Hà Cement Plant.  —  VNS

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