Da Nang violated land regulations on key peninsula: inspectors

By Gia Chinh   October 20, 2019 | 12:48 am PT
Da Nang violated land regulations on key peninsula: inspectors
A bird's eye view of Son Tra Peninsula in Da Nang City. Photo by VnExpress/Le Phuoc Chinh
Da Nang made a series of land management violations on the Son Tra Peninsula, a nature reserve and key defense location, inspectors say.

The Government Inspectorate said Friday that authorities in the central city of Da Nang have committed a series of violations in setting land prices and transferring land plots for 18 projects on the Son Tra Peninsula.

The peninsula, a major tourist attraction for the central city, has a natural forest as it juts into the sea and is of great ecological and national security importance.

However, Da Nang is yet to approve a plan for conservation and sustainable development of the nature reserve on the peninsula, the government's inspectors said after nearly two years of scrutiny.

The central coastal city has not carried out an overall biodiversity survey and assessment; and is yet to prepare any report on its current status. This can have a bearing on the management, protection and development, inspectors said.

Of the 18 projects Da Nang has approved, nine have parts of their areas spread on more than 163 hectares (403 acres) of natural forests without a proviso to manage and protect it.

Also among those 18, most of which are tourism projects to provide accommodation for tourists, the city had only sought approval from the Ministry of National Defense for two projects, and the ministry had given the nod to just one.

But Da Nang granted a license to the other projects as well.

The inspectors found that seven of the remaining 16 projects had violated national defense regulations. Three of the projects have no investment files, and the city has not been able to appraise their land use in accordance with the laws.

The city administration did not set any official price for leasing and transferring land plots on Son Tra, granted preferential land prices and did not fine investors that made late payments, the inspectors said.

Back in 2017, Da Nang had put on hold a national tourism plan approved by the prime minister in November 2016 for the Son Tra Peninsula after receiving strong public criticism, including an online petition set up by Da Nang's Tourism Association asking for the peninsula to be left alone.

Son Tra covers more than 4,400 hectares (10,880 acres), rises to 700 meters at its peak, and acts as a natural shield for the central city, but a plan has been approved to reduce the forest coverage by half, leaving only 1,826 hectares of natural habitat.

The petition, which received over 11,000 signatures, said there should be no more construction on Son Tra, as the city downtown already has enough hotel rooms to welcome 15 million visitors per year.

Da Nang tourism data showed 4.3 million visitors arrived in the city’s in the first half of this year, up 15 percent against the same period last year.

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