PM decries forest destruction

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has ordered Central Highland Lam Dong Province to stop the destruction of pine forests in one of its districts that has been going on at least since 2009.

In a dispatch to the provincial People's Committee last week he instructed it to thoroughly scrutinise the land leasing process in sections 438A and 439 in Loc Phu commune, Bao Lam District.

He also sought clarification on the responsibility of related agencies in the destruction of the forests, and ordered better dissemination of information about the Government's policies on forest-land handover to beneficiaries and immediate completion of all formalities to hand over forest lands in these sections to local communities.

The destruction of sections 438A and 439 began after provincial authorities handed over 215 ha in 2007 to My Hong Co Ltd to grow tea and breed animals while protecting the forests.

But in late 2009 the company was found to have allowed the logging of 5,430cubic metres of wood and illegally occupation of 52.4ha.

Immediately the People's Committee revoked My Hong's licence and handed over upkeep of the forest to Dam B'ri Protective Forest Management Board.

But the destruction continued, with more than 16ha of wood being felled.

Last May the provincial authorities handed over the land to people in Hamlet 4 for upkeep.

But they discovered later that the Loc Phu commune People's Committee did not inform the community about this plan with the result that many eligible people failed to register for land while several plots of land were allotted to ineligible persons.


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