Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình has asked Quảng Ninh People’s Committee to verify information about suspected illegal coal mining and trade in Cẩm Phả City and Hoành Bồ District.
The province has been instructed to submit a report to the Prime Minister by February next year and punish those responsible, Bình said.
Bình’s request was made after local newspapers including Lao động (Labour), Người Lao động (The Labourer) and vnexpress.net recently reported illegal coal mining and trade in the area.
According to vnexpress.net, the owner of a cemetery in Quảng La Commune, Hoành Bồ District had chopped down trees and excavated about 30ha of land about 2km from the site, saying he was using it to level the cemetery site.
Hạ Long Group started the cemetery project in October 2015 and planned to finish it in December 2016. However, instead of exploiting soil as permitted, the company has been mining for coal after finding a seam under the top soil.
Heaps of coal, trucks and machinery have been seen at the site.
Local residents told the online newspaper that every midnight, dozens of trucks suspected of carrying coal left the site each night.
According to Hoành Bồ People’s Committee, the cemetery project was approved in 2013, covering an area of 3ha, but the project remained unfinished.
In Quang Hanh Ward in Cẩm Phả City, private firms had been storing, processing and trading coal illegally, the Lao động reported.
According to Cẩm Phả City People’s Committee, over the last ten years, individuals had dumped soil off the coast to create more room for coal processing.
Hoàng Văn Bốn, head of the city’s Division of Natural Resources and Environment, said illegal coal processing had polluted the environment and facilitated smuggling.
Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Nguyễn Văn Đọc said that local authorities were responsible for dealing with illegal coal processing units and depots.
Loose land use management and weak punishment for violators had left the problem unsolved. — VNS