The southern Dong Nai Province’s transport department on Thursday ordered four sand mining and dredging projects in the region to suspend operations.
The four projects are: dredging on the inland waterway of Thai Thien stream from Thi Vai River to Kim Nhat inland wharf; dredging on Ong Trung channel; dredging and clearing of Buong River and Ben Go River; and dredging and operating inland waterway on Dong Kho River.
The department, greenlit by the provincial People’s Committee, has ordered the businesses to clear all their machinery, equipment and workers off their premises and return the premises.
The department’s inspectors in collaboration with Dong Nai police and the people’s committees of the four mentioned districts have been instructed to monitor the process, making public the information they have, and deal with those who are not cooperating.
In all, there are 13 sand mining and dredging projects that have got permissions, of which now four have been asked to close down. The nine other projects have got licences from the transport ministry, but according to the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment, only three are ongoing; the other six have either not begun or have already concluded.
The department said that the sand mining and dredging projects concentrated heavily on the mining, exploiting natural resources for profit, but dredging, which is more important environmentally, is largely ignored. Irresponsible, unregulated sand mining causes severe erosions on the riverbanks, and threaten the safety and livelihood of local residents.
The suspension order has come amidst reports and public concern over illegal sand mining projects operating all over the country. Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh earlier this month said that cover-ups and collusion that let such businesses operate are unacceptable and would be punished.