Deputy PM orders sand export suspension
The Saigon Times Daily
Illegal sand mining is detected by law enforcement. Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh has told relevant ministries to suspend licensing private sector projects to export sea sand - PHOTO: TTXVN
HCMC - Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh has told relevant ministries to suspend licensing private sector projects to export sea sand.
Binh issued the order at a meeting in Hanoi on Tuesday on illegal mining of sand and pebbles which has stoked great public concern. He told relevant agencies to launch campaigns to crack down on illegal sand mining from March 15 to June 1.
A report of the Government Office said the illegal mining of sand and pebbles has become widespread in many parts of the country.
Statistics showed there have been 80 mineral mining plans including those for sand and pebbles approved by local governments. There have been 108 waterway dredging projects with the involvement of private firms, with 50 of them completed and 55 others underway. About 506 sand pumping sites have been licensed.
Violations include pumping more sand and pebbles than permitted, and failing to complete the required steps for environmental impact assessment, deposit money for environment rehabilitation, and ensure traffic safety.
In waterway dredging projects, contractors often pump more sand than allowed, use machines different from what is approved, declare lower sand volumes, and underpay resource mining fees.
Therefore, the Government Office ordered a halt to the exportation of sea sand which is overexploited by waterway dredging projects involving private investors so that they could map out proper sand pumping and use plans.
The office suggested stopping licensing new projects in which investors can pump sand for sale and boosting checks and oversight.
The Government should issue regulations governing waterway dredging and upgrade of navigational passages to prevent firms from illegal sand exploitation. It is important to support research and production of material replacing natural sand and offer policy incentives to organizations and individuals who use resources economically and replacement material.
It is crucial to review river sand mining and revise the zoning plan for sand ports in provinces to make it easy to control sand resources. Provinces are told to step up management of sand mining in the rivers along their administrative borders and get tough on illegal sand exploitation.
Representatives of local governments at the meeting threw their weight behind the Government Office’s proposals.
A representative of Hung Yen Province pledged the northern province would license new sand mining projects, saying that there are only two projects of this kind valid until 2018 to meet construction demand in the province.
Hung Yen does not encourage sand mining from riverbeds since this would cause landslides along river banks and impact the lives of local people.
Asked by the Deputy PM why it was difficult to deal with illegal sand exploitation, delegates complained it was hard to detect violators as they operated at night. Hanoi is the only city in the country that has filed criminal charges in one case.
Nguyen Quoc Hung, vice chairman of Hanoi, said the city had virtually stopped illegal sand exploitation. Checks have been strengthened at the licensed projects in the city.
Deputy Minister of Public Security Le Quy Vuong said illegal sand exploitation and relevant violations had caused serious consequences. Sand would be exhausted if bold measures are not taken to prevent it.