Construction of a resort complex has been suspended after it was discovered to be built on land that is part of a national park in an outlying district of Hanoi.
Vietnamese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat on Monday ordered a suspension of the construction of the Le Mont Bavi Resort & Spa, which was being carried out in Ba Vi National Park in the namesake district.
The Vietnam Administration of Forestry has also been required to investigate the violations of the unlawful construction and submit a report on it before March 4.
A Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper probe revealed that the management board of the national park had sold 53 hectares of land to the Company For Technology Development (CFTD), which has been constructing the resort, for VND8 billion (US$358,800).
The business cooperation contract between the two parties lasts 50 years, from September 10, 2011 to September 10, 2061.
The agreement clearly states that the Ba Vi National Park will transfer to CFTD the authority to protect and manage the forested area, and the firm has the responsibility to pay VND200 million ($8,970) upfront.
The business will continue to pay another VND300 million ($13,455) during the construction of the resort and an annual amount of VND150 million ($6,727) within the 50 years of cooperation with the park.
As Tuoi Tre reporters arrived at the Le Mont Bavi Resort & Spa on Monday, several employees and receptionists said that the facility is in its pilot phase.
About 13 houses have been put up, along with swimming pools in some areas, according to the correspondents.
“The highest price is VND4 million [$179.4] per day for a 70 square meter room and the lowest is VND2.5 million [$112.13] for a 30 square meter one,” a receptionist stated.
Construction of the resort has continued for years, Do Huu The, deputy director of the Ba Vi National Park said, adding that the cooperation between the park and the company was aimed at associating tourism development with forest protection.
In response to the journalists’ questions over whether they have been granted a building permit, they simply claimed “the planning work has been approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, thus a permit is not needed.”
All designs in the resort area were renovated from the ruins in the national park, and no trees have been cut down since the construction started, Cao Chi Cong, deputy head of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry, said after working with the park managers.
In talking with Tuoi Tre, Nguyen Viet Dung, chief inspector of the Hanoi Department of Construction, said that he has ordered competent agencies to carry out a direct investigation at the resort.
Meanwhile, the reporters have been unable to reach the managers of CFTD or receive any answer when contacting the company’s director on the phone.