Forests illegally cleared
Most of the destruction has happened in Duong Hoa and Thuy Bang Communes, in Huong Thuy Township and Huong Tho Commune in Huong Tra Township.
Locals in these communes have cleared what used to be forests and settled it as their own property. In many cases the people used bulldozers to level the areas they wanted to take over.
According to two hired workers in Huong Tho Commune, sub-area No. 162 was a popular spot for such activities because of the lax management there. Most of the violators came from Huong Tho and Duong Hoa communes.
Mai Van Xuan, Chairman of Huong Tho Communal People’s Committee, said local authorities were aware of the situation in the area and were trying to persuade the people to stop.
The local authorities in Huong Thuy Township, officials from Duong Hoa Commune and the Protected Forest Management Board of Huong Thuy held a meeting to discuss the problem on May 2.
All admitted at a lot of forestland in the sub-area No. 162, in Duong Hoa Commune, as well as the sub-areas 165 and 168, in Huong Thuy Township, have suffered serious damage due to illegal appropriation.
Phan Van Xuan, Vice Chairman of Huong Thuy Township People’s Committee called for immediate action to help the situation.
Nguyen Van Hien, Chairman of Duong Hoa Commune People’s Committee told DTiNews that sub-area No. 162 occupies 113 hectares and a lot of forestland in the place has been appropriated.
Local forest rangers discovered that five more plots had been illegally cleared from sub-area No. 162 by seven residents of Huong Tho Commune. A report was made, however the culprits refused to sign, saying they were only employees of a third party from Duong Hoa Commune.
In another case, the Duong Hoa communal government found that a man, named Le Van Dung, from Ho Hamlet decided to clear three hectares of forestland for his own agricultural purposes.
Dung said that there have been around 40 hectares of forest that has been illegally cleared recently.
Nguyen Van Hien said that the phenomena was started by a rumour that the provincial government planned to allocate large areas of land in sub-area No. 162, however no official document to this effect has been created.
He added that the lack of human resources in forest management has only added to the problem. A few scattered teams must manage over 600 hectares.
Nguyen Van Hien, Chairman of Duong Hoa communal People’s Committee
A local man sets his claim on a mountaintop