Ngũ Huyện Khê River is seriously polluted by untreated wastewater from paper workshops in Bắc Ninh Province. — Photo khoahocdoisong.vn
BẮC NINH — Irrigation works in Bắc Ninh Province have been plagued with illegal construction and dumping in recent years, causing serious impacts on agricultural production and people’s daily lives.
Provincial authorities detect hundreds of violations of irrigation works annually, with many cases ongoing for years, according to Nhân Dân (People) newspaper.
Ngũ Huyện Khê River, a tributary of the Đuống River, provides water for agricultural production in the dry season and is a water drainage canal in the rainy season for five districts in Bắc Ninh and Hà Nội.
The river has been seriously polluted by untreated wastewater discharged from dozens of paper workshops in Tiên Du District and BắcNinh City, while the water flow has been narrowed by illegal constructions along the two banks by local people.
At the irrigation canal on the right bank of the river in Từ Sơn Township, Trọng Tín Construction and Service Company levelled and lowered the embarkment without permission and illegally poured sand into the canal bed.
Illegal encroachment of river banks and irrigation works’ safe corridors to build houses or discharge untreated wastewater into the river have happened in the province's entire irrigation system, the paper said.
Notably, the violators were not only ordinary people or businesses but also local authorities.
On the canal of Trịnh Xá pumping station in Tiên Du District's Bất Lự Village, a concrete road and 53 shops were built on the canal’s embankment.
The paper discovered the illegal construction had been permitted by the local authority.
In July last year, Vũ Xuân Thưởng, the village’s head, asked the Bắc Đuống Company, which manages all irrigation works in Bắc Ninh, to allow the village to move some shops beside the canal.
At the same time, Thưởng requested Phú Khang Company to build a makeshift bridge across and drainage system along the canal while awaiting construction permits.
Bắc Đuống rejected Thưởng’s proposal because building on canal embankments must be approved by the provincial authority.
In 2008, the People’s Committee of Phú Lâm Commune of Tiên Du District committed a similar violation in Tam Tảo-Trịnh Xá drainage canal.
When carrying out a project upgrading Phú Lâm Market, the People’s Committee of Phú Lâm Commune built shops along the canal without permits.
According to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, there were 204 cases of violations in irrigation last year.
The violations were safety risks, hurt the operations of irrigation works and harmed agricultural production and natural disaster preparedness, the department said.
Notably, the province has only handled 21 of the total 204 cases.
Most of the violators were asked to return the irrigation works to their original state but few of them had to pay fines.
“When detecting violations, the staff of irrigation works just reported to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and local management agencies,” said Đặng Công Hưởng, vice director of Bắc Ninh Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“Fines would be decided by local authorities,” said Hưởng.
“Several times we have asked people’s committees of communes, districts and towns to take measures against the violations. But the situation had not yet been thoroughly handled,” he said.
In fact, in 2018, the department proposed police consider criminal acts in four cases, but the request only resulted in fines.
Bắc Đuống Company said violations had happened in most of the province's 270 canals, which stretch 774km.
Last year, the company detected 203 violations but only 20 cases were handled.
Lack of determination in dealing with violations had caused rampant rule-breaking, said Hưởng.
So far, there is no regulation on handling heads of local governments who let violations of irrigation works occur for a long time without definite resolutions. – VNS