Environment » Environmental Resources

January 26, 2020, 3:54 am

MARD releases “ultimatum” to hydropower investors

(10:44:45 AM 26/01/2015)
(Tinmoitruong.vn) - Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat has threatened to revoke operation licenses of hydropower investors who have not planted forests to compensate for forestland they used to build their projects.

 

 MARD releases “ultimatum” to hydropower investors

 

“The investors and enterprises who deliberately have not fulfilled their task of planting forests to compensate for forestland taken away to make room for hydropower plants will have their operation licenses revoked,” Phat said during an online conference between the agriculture ministry and the leaders of the country’s 63 provinces and cities in late December.

 

A report showed that 76,000 hectares of forests must be planted to offset the forestland lost to serve hydropower projects in 55 provinces and cities nationwide since 2006.

 

However, only 2,540 hectares of forests, or 3.4 percent, have been planted.

 

Phat said he agreed with the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) that hydropower investors would not only have their licenses revoked, but would also be fined VND400-500 million for every year of delay.

 

Locals in the hydropower areas, who have been voicing their complaints about the serious consequences caused by hydropower plants, applauded Phat’s decision.

 

The plants take away river water in the dry season, leaving rice and crop fields in the lower course dry, and also discharge water in the rainy season, causing heavy flooding in the lowlands. They affect the river ecosystems and damage forestland.

 

Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Lung from the Institute for Sustainable Forest Management and Forest Certificates, commenting that MARD has made a necessary decision, said that it was the the right time to impose heavy sanctions not only on investors who deliberately do not plant forests, but also on state management agencies authorized to supervise forest plantation.

 

“It is really unreasonable that they (hydropower investors) build plants and pocket profits, but complain they do not have money to plant forests,” he said on Dat Viet.

 

The expert said that the modest area of planted forests reflects the weak enforcement of laws.

 

The reality is that the policy on forcing hydropower investors to plant forests has been applied in a “very flexible” way. Investors can hire local forestry departments to plant forests, pay money to the forest development fund instead of planting forests, or plant forests in other areas.

 

However, the “flexible way” clearly has not helped, while more and more forests, known the “green lungs” of the country, have been devastated in direct proportion to the increasing number of hydropower plants.

 

Kim Chi
KHÔNG XẢ RÁC BỪA BÃI

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