Strict rules for construction projects in mountainous regions
Bui Van Duong, deputy director general of the Department of Construction, talks to Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper about serious encroachments made by some construction projects at historic sites and parks in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang.
What can you tell us about illegal construction projects at national heritage sites and parks in Ha Giang?
There are different reasons for these illegal construction activities in Ha Giang Province. Recently, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc gave the green light for a master plan on tourism development projects on the Dong Van Karst Plateau - a national tourism site. The PM has also given the green light for a construction plan at the Dong Van Geological Park - a member of the Global Network of National Geoparks.
However, due to budget and resource shortages, detailed plans for the construction and management of the park have not yet been made available to the public.
Furthermore, poor law enforcement has allowed illegal constructions in the surrounding areas of Dong Van.
Which local agency is in charge of the management of planning and construction in mountainous provinces?
Under Vietnamese law, administrations at all levels, ranging from commune to district to province, are charged with the management of planning and construction activities in their localities. If local authorities can’t perform their duties well, how can Government agencies oversee illegal construction activities in tourism hotspots like Ma Pi Leng and Dong Van.
Generally speaking, our laws on planning and construction are complete. Under the law, it is the duty of all provincial and district People’s Committees to carry out their missions in localities under their management. Provincial construction departments have to submit monthly, quarterly and annual reports to the Ministry of Construction. The Ministry then compiles a national report to submit to the Prime Minister. However, in special circumstances which are beyond the capacity of provincial authorities, they will seek help from the ministry. More recently, serious cases of breaches of the Construction Law have been reported in many provinces, but provincial authorities have not sought support from the ministry.
Does the Ministry of Construction have any plans to set rules for construction activities in Ha Giang Province?
Since 1999, Vietnam has been developing a complete set of legal documents on construction planning and investment activities. However, in recent years, the real estate market has been developing rapidly, particularly in the tourism real estate sector. This has presented challenges to the authorities at both central and local levels. This is one of the reasons why resorts have been built without official permits from authorities all over the country.
In the draft revised Law on Construction which will soon be discussed by the National Assembly, the Ministry of Construction has come up with specific regulations on the rights and responsibilities of concerned agencies in the construction field. The draft law also covers rules and regulations on construction management after licences have been granted.
Do you think that the National Assembly should enact another law focusing specially on construction activities in mountainous regions, particularly regions with heritage sites and the potential to develop tourist resorts?
Our current Construction Law already covers all types of management, including regions which are home to relic sites or have potential for tourism development. The draft revised Construction Law, which is already on the table for the National Assembly, includes more specific articles on the rights and responsibilities of concerned agencies on keeping law and order in the construction field.
Regarding mountainous regions with historical relic sites and big potential for tourism development, owners of all construction projects have to strictly follow the Construction Law and other related laws, including the Land Law, the Law on Environmental Protection, and the Law on Tourism, among others.
Ha Giang in the mountainous north of Vietnam has become a popular tourist attraction thanks to its majestic scenery and rugged natural beauty.
Hoang A Chinh, director of Ha Giang Province Department of Construction said on October 4 that they would investigate the illegal project on Ma Pi Leng Mountain Pass.
Local authorities on Monday demanded a controversial hotel-café built along a stunning mountain pass in Ha Giang Province be shut down amid public criticism that the structure ruined the natural beauty of the area.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism stated that it backed decisions made by Ha Giang over a controversial hostel-café built along one of Vietnam's most beautiful mountain passes, just hours after the business was told to shut down.