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Vietnamese province to repurpose 130ha of forest

The Fansipan Sa Pa cable car in Lao Cai Province, northern Vietnam.
The Fansipan Sa Pa cable car in Lao Cai Province, northern Vietnam.

A province in northern Vietnam originally calling for nearly 2,000 hectares of forest to be rezoned for a hydroelectric facility and several resource exploitation projects has slashed the area in question to just 130 hectares, just seven percent of the original proposal.

The administration in Lao Cai, a mountainous province about 300 kilometers from Hanoi, announced their original proposal to allow 68 local projects to transform 1,963 hectares of its forest by 2020 in an official suggestion, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said.

Recently, however, the local government has amended their plan to limit the included area to just 129.7 hectares, saying that only 13 of the 68 projects would actually need forest land.

Now, locals are wondering why that information was not clear from the outset.

The ministry, which received the proposal for each of the projects, has only granted licenses to 12 of the projects in order to show a stricter attitude toward forest repurposement.

The one excluded project was meant to include a running tap water system for Lao Cai’s Sa Pa Town, a tourist attraction.

Most of the other plans involve constructing hydroelectricity facilities, expanding an existing stone quarry, and conducting mineral exploration.

All the projects must receive the imprimatur from Vietnam’s premier before they can be given the official green light.