Prime Minister asks investigation over Bac Ninh leader threatening

The Prime Minister yesterday asked the Ministry of Public Security to urgently investigate a case in which the chairman and some agency leaders of the northern province of Bac Ninh were threatened after proposing to stop a passage dredging project in Cau River for sand overexploitation causing landslide.

Minister of Public Security To Lam (Photo: VGP)

According to an announcement from the Government Office yesterday, the PM required the ministry to make clear who are standing behind the project and sending threatening messages to Bac Ninh leaders.

The PM also required the Minister of Transport to report the project to him before March 20.
On the same day, Minister of Public Security To Lam asked the General Department of Police to coordinate with authorized agencies under the ministry to investigate the case.
At a press conference, the provincial People’s Committee said that the project had been carried out by Ha Luu Passage Salvage Joint Stock Company, approved by Vietnam Inland Waterways Agency under the Ministry of Transport in 2014 and the People’s Committee also.
After the project operated in 2015 and 2016, the province found it showed signs of taking advantage of the dredge to overexploit sand, causing river landslide. Since last year, the province has spent VND30 billion (US$1.32 million) to fortify embankment in three landslide spots along the river.
The proposal to stop the project has resulted in the situation that the province’s chairman and some leaders received intimidating messages, which have not been publicly announced because of investigation secret. This information has been confirmed by the director of Bac Ninh province Police Department. Chairman of the province Nguyen Van Long has handed over the messages to the investigation police agency under the provincial Police Department.
Relating to the case, the Ministry of Transport has officially sent a document to the provincial People’s Committee and the Vietnam Inland Waterways Agency, stressing that the ministry had agreed with the agency to halt the project.
According to the ministry, it has halted licensing new dredging projects on maritime passages since 2015. So far the ministry approves new projects in the national inland waterway routes only if local authorities agree the projects.
Only when authorized agencies approve environmental impact reports and relevant sides report exploited products from the projects to local authorities, execution contracts will be signed. Implementation process needs tight management and supervision by the Inland Waterways Agency with the coordination by local authorities.
Quoting the agency’s report, the ministry said that the project in Bac Ninh had been halted from March 11 to November 30 last year as per proposal by the province People’s Committee to reexamine and re-estimate the necessity of the passage’s dredging.
A qualification report by an independent side, Dong Bac Design and Construction Consultant Company, showed that three sections of the river do not meet standards as per design for vessels to travel through.
Previous measuring results last October indicated that seven shallow sections in Bac Ninh and five sections in Bac Giang do not meet designed standards for vessels’ travel. Therefore, the Inland Waterways Agency has proposed the Ministry of Transport to ask the Bac Ninh province People’s Committee to solve difficulties and create conditions for contractors to continue implementing the project. However the proposal has yet to be approved.

At present, the ministry requires the agency to coordinate with the Transport Department of Bac Ninh province and relevant agencies to inspect and clarify problems relating to the project and report to the ministry.

By staff writers – Translated by Hai Mien

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