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No industry underway at many planned industrial zones   2009-01-13 - TN, Agencies

No industry underway at many planned industrial zones
Trees and weeds block the entrance of Hai Son Industrial Park in Long An Province  
The Mekong Delta province of Long An has allocated thousands of hectares for industrial zones for years, most of which is now lying idle.

Some 13,900 hectares of former farmland has been reserved for industrial use by the end of 2007.

Of 6,985 hectares reserved for industrial clusters, less than 9 percent is actually being put to use, said Mai Van Nhieu, director of the province’s Department of Planning and Investment.

In most cases, farmers have not received any compensation money for their land or the jobs they were promised at the industrial zones.

Long An Province People’s Committee in February 2002 gave the nod to part two of the Tan Duc industrial zone project on a 293- hectare area in Duc Hoa District.

The project investor has paid compensation for 233.8 hectares and cleared out less than one third of the ground in the area, according to the district People’s Committee.

Stage one of the project, as well as the Duc Hoa No. 1 and Thuan Dao projects, has only used about 60 percent of the land they received, the highest proportion among industrial zones in the area, according to inspectors.

Meanwhile, the investor of the Saigon-Long An industrial project has only finished clearing the site and building internal streets, even though the first stage was approved in March 2002 and the second stage in 2004.

Since 2003, Hai Son Co. Ltd. has been given a total of 831 hectares to develop an industrial cluster in Duc Hoa District.

Only 117 hectares has been put to use and in part two of the development, only 10 out of 35 registered businesses have started operating.

Two households from the land taken for the industrial cluster have not given their land due to late construction at the resettlement area, said local official Nguyen Tuyen Binh.

Meanwhile, there’s no sign of construction on three other parts of the project in Duc Hoa District and the section in Can Giuoc District’s Long Thuong Commune.

A commune official said the project had affected 403 local households, who are now without farmland or a factory job.

Most of the families were supposed to be relocated but the investor only offered 212 resettlement houses, said the official.

According to a regulation approved by the prime minister in 2006, an industrial project developer is allowed to receive more land only when it has built a wastewater treatment plant on its current land and put 60 percent of the land to use.

Vietnam’s Land Law also requires a developer to finish the infrastructure on its land before transferring or renting out the land.

None of the sections of Hai Son’s project has a waste treatment system or finished infrastructure but many sections have been rented or transferred to smaller developers.

Long An Province has violated the government’s approval on land use and industrial land expansion, damaging thousands of hectares of farmland and wasting more than VND64 billion (US$3.66 million) of state funds, VietNamNet reported, citing a state inspectors’ report.

The inspectors attributed the violations to investment pressure on the province but mostly to local officials’ poor management skills.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Planning and Investment have been asked to quickly issue rules for managing industrial clusters.

Nguyen Van Thiep, director of Long An Province Department of Natural Resources and Environment, told VietNamNet that he is going to report the projects that have not started work to the province administration.

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