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State officials work hand in glove with deforesters in Vietnam: province's vice chair

Friday, April 10, 2015, 19:09 GMT+7
State officials work hand in glove with deforesters in Vietnam: province's vice chair
Nguyen Duc Luyen, vice chairman of the People’s Committee of Dak Nong Province, located in the Central Highlands of Vietnam

Vietnam has failed to stop deforestation because state officials have been involved in the illegal activity, according to a high ranking official.

Nguyen Duc Luyen, vice chairman of the People’s Committee of Dak Nong Province in the Central Highlands region, confirmed it Thursday at a national meeting on forest development in the 2011-2020 period in Buon Ma Thuot City of Dak Lak Province.

“We have failed to try those chopping down forest trees [to get wood and agricultural land] because of the involvement of state officials,” Luyen said at the meeting organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai.

“State officials have received forests and land from this deforestation,” he affirmed. “These state officials have transferred forest land and given the green light to deforestation.” 

Luyen added, “The natural resources of the forest in Dak Nong have seriously decreased in both quantity and quality.”

The reality is different from reports sent to the central government and the gap has created differences in making policies, he noted.

The official announced at the meeting that Dak Nong has been left with only 334,000 hectares of forest, or 29,500 hectares lower than the number reported.

The reserves of wood in Dak Nong are 29 million cubic meters now and the province’s forest coverage is 36 percent, or 39 percent if the areas of industrial trees and rubber farms are included.

“That means Dak Nong has been facing two challenges: the source of water and desertification,” he said.

Luyen also pointed out “two basic reasons” for the loss of forest, including the involvement of state officials and the cover-up of other forces such as the police.

Y Dham Enuol, vice chairman of the People’s Committee of Dak Lak Province, also in the Central Highlands region, cited a fact that his province has lost 52,000 hectares of forest, or four percent of its forest coverage, in the last eight years.

Massive unplanned emigration is to blame, according to the official.

Deputy PM Hai instructed that efforts be made to protect forest regardless of the economic slowdown and urged relevant agencies to coordinate with each other to stop and arrest deforestation organizers.

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