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Who pays the dear price?
The Saigon Times Daily
Sunday,  Mar 4, 2018,22:37 (GMT+7)

Who pays the dear price?

The Saigon Times Daily

Authorities of the central coast city of Danang have finally come to a painful solution to the persistent pollution caused by two steel factories, Dana Y and Dana Uc, in Hoa Vang District, determining last Friday to shut down the steel mills with immediate effect. Such a bold decision follows angry protests spanning several months by the people, who have suffered from worsening pollution since the steel mills were set up there over ten years ago.

At a meeting with representatives of the steel mills and villagers on Friday, Danang City Vice Chairman Ho Ky Minh announced a decision by the city’s Party leadership to cease production at the facilities. This is a hard-fought decision, as there has been much infighting in the past few years over whether to shut down the pollution-causing factories or to relocate the affected people.

In fact, during an encounter with villagers early last week, Vice Chairman Ho Ky Minh said the municipal government was still undecided over factory shutdown or people relocation. Minh said relocating the people would pose huge pressure in terms of resettlement, while shutting down the factories would lead to compensation, meaning a dear price to be paid no matter what solution is taken.

A question surfaces: who are going to pay that dear price?

Local media reports Dana Y and Dana Uc were established in 2006 on the premises of two small-scale plants Thanh Loi and Thai Binh Duong. Gradual expansion steps on the two plants were executed later on, raising their annual combined output to some one million tons. As their output rose, pollution worsened, especially since six years ago, prompting outcries from villagers.

Danang’s Department of Construction in a report to the municipal Party chief Truong Quang Nghia at a meeting in December asserted the two steel plants were not included in the city’s industrial master plan from the very beginning, as the area was planned for other industries such as apparel and building material sectors. Nghia stressed at the meeting that the existence of the steel plants would turn the master plan upside down, hinting at the solution of closing the plants.

However, it has not been pinpointed why the plants were licensed in the first place, though in Nghia’s words, “there are probably some reason for Danang to accept these projects,” according to VnExpress. He stopped short of naming interest groups though it has been reported in local media that certain officials in the city have interests in the steel plants.

Danang City will have to earmark a huge sum from its budget to compensate the two steel plants, whether they are closed for good or relocated to a certain industrial zone. Taxpayers will finally bear the brunt of the costs, since it is unthinkable that any particular people will be asked to pay the price for their wrongdoing from the beginning when accepting the steel plants.

The Saigon Times Daily
 

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