Sand exploitation vessels on Chu River a grave concern


Update: June, 23/2017 – 18:30

An illegal sand exploitation vessel on Chu River. — Photo

THANH HOÁ — Several illegal sand exploitation vessels have been found operating along Chu River in the central province of Thanh Hoá.However, local authorised agencies are finding it difficult to deter vessels owing to inadequate and weak human resources.As a result, banks along the river have suffered serious erosion, narrowing the cultivable area of residents and threatening people’s safety.

On the river between Thiệu Toán and Thiệu Vũ communes in Thiệu Hoá District, some vessels were caught exploiting sand from the riverbed. Upon being chased by the inspectors’ vessel, they sped away at their fastest speed.

In Thiệu Nguyên Commune, a similar problem has occurred.

Nguyễn Văn Thảo, deputy head of Thiệu Nguyên Commune’s sand protection unit, said the unit was only able to chase vessels violating rules to stop them from illegally exploiting sand, instead of imposing fines, due to a shortage of inspectors.

He said a collaboration was necessary between authorised agencies to deter violations.

Nguyễn Văn Thắng, chairman of Thiệu Nguyên Commune’s People’s Committee, said the committee has set up a protection team with 13 members, a vessel, a belvedere and two observatory places to uncover and crack down on illegal sand exploitation vessels.

Funds were allocated from the commune’s budget. The commune has spent hundreds of millions of đồng to solve the issue, he said.

However, most vessels sped to neighbouring communes to escape chasing inspectors.

Since early this year, the committee has uncovered three cases of illegal sand exploitation, imposing fines totalling VNĐ13 million (US$572).

Phạm Đình Lam, chairman of Thiệu Toán Commune’s People’s Committee, said the committee had not granted licences to any vessel.

Lam said there were only three polices in charge of nearly 5km of the river. Therefore, illegal sand exploitation continued to occur.

In April, the committee fined two vessels fines of VNĐ3 million ($132) each. — VNS

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