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Deputies critical of draft Forest Law

Update: June, 20/2017 - 09:00
Several pine trees in the Bắc Biển Hồ protective forest in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai were cut down. National Assembly deputies said on Monday that the Law on Forest Protection and Development had not clearly identified responsibility for forest protection. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoài Nam
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — National Assembly deputies said on Monday that the Law on Forest Protection and Development had not clearly identified responsibility for forest protection nor encouraged people to participate seriously in protecting the country’s trees.

Speaking at a session to discuss the proposed amended forest protection law, Deputy Ksor Phước Hà from the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai said every year there were reportedly 7,000 cases of deforestation and more than 20,000 cases of timber smuggling. “Forests in the Central Highlands have been replaced with rubber trees plantation, but rubber trees can’t make the bare hills green again because they discharge CO2. No animals can survive in a rubber plantation,” Hà said.

The law has not identified who should take responsibility if the forests are destroyed or burnt.

“The law should clearly say that the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and chairperson of local people’s committees at all levels should assume responsibility for forest destruction in areas under their management,” she said.

Deputy Võ Đình Tín from Đắk Nông Province said the draft law has not mentioned the role of ethnic minorities in forest protection. “There should be one provision regulating the allocation of forests to ethnic minorities, making sure that they can make ends meet by forestation and have proper incomes from protecting the forests,” Tín added.

Deputy Mùa A Vàng from the northern mountainous province of Điện Biên agreed. “Only when the community sees that protecting the forest can help them earn their living do they want to better protect the forest,” he said.

Vàng suggested that the Government adopt incentives for households, individuals and enterprises to participate in forest protection.

Forest classification

Most deputies agreed with the regulations on forest classification in the amended draft law, which are forest for special use, protection forests and production forests. Yet some deputies thought the classification should be changed.

Deputy Lưu Văn Đức from  Đắk Lắk Province, central highlands of Việt Nam, said the classification was not scientific and suitable for management. “Such classification only takes into account the technical purposes of the forest sector but not the characteristic factors of each kind of forest, like water-protecting forests or border forests,” he said.

Deputy Nguyễn Văn Man from the central province of Quảng Bình suggested the law classify forests into two kinds: protection and production. Protection forests would include natural forests and specialised forests. Production forests would be those used for production and economic purposes.

“This classification method is in accordance with the method used in many countries and suitable for international co-operation,” Man said.

Airport resettlement

Also on Monday, deputies voted to approve a resolution to separate works of site clearance, compensation and resettlement in the Long Thành airport project near HCM City and treat them as sub-projects, clearing a major technical obstacle to the project.

Site clearance, compensation and resettlement costs in the Long Thành International Airport project are estimated at VNĐ23 trillion (over US$1 billion). Currently, the amount allocated for these components in the medium-term public investment plan for the 2016-20 period is only VNĐ5 trillion, or 21.7 per cent of the total need.

According to the Ministry of Transport, 5,614ha of land need to be cleared for the project, including 5,000ha for building the airport terminal and the remainder for resettlement areas. There will be 4,730 households receiving compensation.

The resolution says the land acquisition process must ensure social security, and stability for the lives and living of people affected by the project. It also requires the resettlement area to be built in a synchronous manner in terms of technical and social infrastructure, ensuring construction standards and norms suitable to local conditions, customs and habits.

The resolution assigns the Government to direct the People’s Committee of Đồng Nai Province and related ministries and agencies to work on a feasibility study report and submit it to the National Assembly for consideration and approval at the 4th session of the 13th National Assembly.

NA deputies also voted to approve a resolution appointing two judges of the People’s Supreme Court, a resolution on approving the State budget settlement in 2015, the Law on Irrigation, the amended Law on Tourism, the Law on Compensation Liability of the State, and some other laws and resolutions. — VNS



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