HCM CITY — Hydropower projects that have significant negative impacts on the environment should be rejected and existing ones that violate regulations should have their licences revoked, says Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai.
|Tranh River Hydropower Plant 2 in central Quang Nam Province. Mistakes in design, construction, supervision and operation were reported to cause leakages. Repair work is expected to complete this month. — VNS Photo Nguyen Thanh
These include projects that need large areas of forest and/or agricultural land; affect large numbers of residents and result in big resettlement plans; and affect water resources on the lower sections of rivers on which the dams are built, he said in a statement on the Government website.
Hai asked the Ministry of Trade and Industry to review development plans for hydropower projects on each river as well as small-scale ones planned by every locality nationwide.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry should cooperate with provincial authorities to make developers (of hydropower plants) to re-assess their designs, propose operational and management measures to ensure safety of life and property in downstream areas during flooding seasons, he said.
Hydropower projects currently under construction must be inspected and violations in construction and quality management and supervision must be strictly punished, Hai said.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry must cooperate with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to monitor compensation paid to residents affected by these projects so as to ensure that they have better living standards in new residential areas.
Provincial authorities are responsible for allocating land for reforestation to investors of hydropower projects to replace forests destroyed to build dams. They are also required to take measures to ensure that investors reforest an area equal to the forest land allocated for their hydro-power projects, Hai said.
If the province does not have enough land for afforestation, the authorities must ask the investors to pay compensation money to the Forest Protection and Development fund as required by law.
The People's Committees of provinces and cities have to report to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development the area of forest land allocated to hydro-power projects and also the area of land reforested by the investors. The ministry will then send a report to the Prime Minister on this issue.
Provincial and city authorities should also check and assess the capacities of contractors for small-scale hydropower projects.
Licences granted to investors who do not possess the capability to carry out hydropower projects and those who violate regulations on construction, investment and environment protection must be revoked, Hai said. —VNS