PM orders action on sand mining crimes

Update: March, 17/2017 - 10:04
The PM required Bắc Ninh Province People’s Committee to continue suspending the project to dredge the Cầu River. — VNA/VNS Photo 

HÀ NỘI — The Prime Minister on Thursday asked the Ministry of Public Security to urgently investigate the information that organised criminals were threatening officials of the northern Bắc Ninh province’s People’s Committee and other local offices.

The PM required Bắc Ninh Province People’s Committee to continue suspending the project to dredge the Cầu River.

On Wednesday, Nguyễn Tử Quỳnh, chairman of Bắc Ninh Province People’s Committee, confirmed that he was threatened by a hidden man recently. He sent letter to the Prime Minister asking for help.

Some days before, Bắc Ninh Province officials received "terrorised" messages, phone calls demanding the project on the Cầu River continue to be implemented.

The project, organised by Hạ Lưu Joint Stock Company, was approved by Việt Nam Inland Water Administration. However, Bắc Ninh Province People’s Committee resolutely proposed to stop its implementation.

This decision was highly appreciated by local residents and helped ensure social order, according to the province’s report sent to the PM.

Bắc Ninh People’s Committee fears the project will lead to the erosion of the river bank, affecting people’s lives and causing tens of billions of đồng in damages.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình has asked relevant offices to launch a crackdown on illegal sand mining crimes, combating the increase of cases in many provinces nationwide.  

The Deputy PM also required provincial people’s committees to halt the export of salted sand, and asked the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment to implement strict solutions to restore order and discipline toward the management, exploitation and use of this mineral.

The illegal exploitation of sand and gravel in many localities across the country has caused serious environmental pollution, river bank erosion and adverse impacts on security and life of residents, according to the Deputy PM.

Lại Hồng Thanh, deputy chairman of Việt Nam General Department of Geology and Minerals, said the increase of illegal sand mining is due to the fact that sand and gravel in river bed was often located in the boundary between two or more localities at a province, district and commune.

Therefore, when illegal sand mining was discovered, the inspection and handling was difficult without co-ordination and synchronism among concerned localities, he said.

Investigation reveals that the exploiters are local men living along the river who understand the terrain deeply.

The process of sand mining occurs quickly, with a network of sophisticated local guards. Therefore, it is difficult to catch and handle illegal mine exploiters.

The investment required is small, mining activities can occur at any time, sand and gravel can be sold immediately to traders on the river, and more people are therefore attempting the activity.

Early this week, five boats were seized while exploiting illegal sand on Đồng Nai River in the south. — VNS