The Dong Nai Province Farmers' Association has decided to collect opinions from local farmers about whether accepting the pollution compensation proposed by Taiwan-owned MSG maker Vedan Vietnam or taking legal action against the company.
Taiwan-owned MSG company Vedan Vietnam in Dong Nai Province (Photo: VNA)
The decision was made at a meeting on August 23 between the Association and the provincial Lawyers’ Association, the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment, and the People’s Committees of Long Thanh and Nhon Trach Districts.
Recently, Vedan has offered to pay VND120 billion (US$6.16 million) as a compensation for the serious damage caused by the company’s discharge of untreated wastewater into the Thi Vai River in the southern province for a long time. The polluting actions by Vedan were found in September 2008.
At the meeting, vice chairman of the Dong Nai Province Farmers' Association, Tran Van Quang, said the association would mobilize the affected farmers to accept the offered damages.
However, the association would also launch a collection of opinions from the affected farmers about the Vedan’s compensation offer. The collection will be carried out from now until late this month.
If the affected farmers agree to the said compensation amount, they will be asked to authorize the association or the authorities of the two districts to receive the damages from Vedan. In case any farmers want to take legal action against Vedan, their lawsuit will be settled by an appropriate court.
The association asked the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Department of Natural Resources and Environment to identify the actual damage caused by Vedan to form a basis for a possible legal action.
However, it is hard to distribute the compensation amount to every affected households at such an extent that is appropriate to the actual damage they have suffered, since the damage levels are very different among them, said Le Viet Hung, director of the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
The representative of the provincial Lawyers' Association warned that if the compensation amount is equally paid to the affected farmers, then a number of them will probably take legal action against Vedan.
To date, more than 4,000 petitions have been lodged to local courts by the affected farmers in Nhon Trach and Long Thanh Districts, claiming a total damages of about VND2 trillion (US$102 million), according to the association.