Posted on March 27, 2017
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has told the Ministry of Transport (MoT) to suspend the licensing for river dredging projects which has stoked great public concern.
He ordered the ministry to let provinces control these projects by themselves.
The PM’s order came several days after leaders of the northern province of Bac Ninh sent letters, seeking the Prime Minister’s help after they received threatening messages warning them because of their decision to stop dredging on the Cau River.
The PM has asked the Ministry of Public Security to investigate the incident and submit a report within this month.
Nguyen Hong Giang, head of Viet Nam Inland Waterways Administration, said 66 waterway dredging projects had been licensed between 2008 and 2015.
Of these, 42 projects had been cancelled due to slow progress and the rest were expected to be completed by the end of this year, he said.
In addition to waterway dredging projects, there had been 600 mining plans approved by local governments where the situation had deteriorated.
The MoT has ordered a halt to all dredging projects and suspended three officials to investigate their responsibility, he said.
Mai Tien Dung, minister and head of the Government Office, said on Tuesday that the local governments were empowered to license the projects would make it easy to control sand resources and prevent firms from illegal exploitation.
Because too many agencies managed the rivers, enterprises have taken advantage of loose management to undertake illegal exploitations near the river bank, causing erosions, he said.
Dung, who led a Prime Minister’s working group to visit the MoT, said illegal sand mining had become widespread in many parts of the country including Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, Hung Yen and Thai Binh.
If local authorities failed to manage these projects, there would be a public outcry, which could also result in losses to the State budget, he said.