Authorities in northern Vietnam’s Ha Nam province have blocked irrigation canals and access points to a paddy field amid a land dispute between villagers and a company that plans to transform the site in an industrial park, according to residents.
On the morning of June 25, more than 100 riot police and other officers drove a convoy of excavators, bulldozers and trucks to requisition a field in Chuong Village of Ly Nhan District, despite negotiations to compensation pending between residents and Thai Ha Urban and Industrial Park. Joint-stock investment company.
Video of the eviction, which took place shortly after the seeds of a new rice crop were sown, shows villagers fighting with authorities that resulted in at least one woman being hospitalized 70 years old for injuries.
The paddy field is part of an area of 100 hectares (250 acres) of land that was approved for the development of the first phase of Thai Ha Industrial Park by Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung in November 2019. The area includes parts of cultivated land. by some 500 households in the communes of Ly Nhan de Bac Ly, Chan Ly and Tran Hung Dao.
Villagers in Chuong say the dispute started when Thai Ha requested 15 hectares (37 acres) of land in addition to the 100 hectares approved by Trinh. Residents, suspecting that the land would be reused for housing, demanded an increase in compensation.
“In some neighboring municipalities, after receiving land, investors did not build industrial parks. Instead, they divided the land into plots to sell for housing, ”a villager from Chuong who gave his name as MT, told RFA.
“Because the information for this project is so vague, we have become suspicious. “
The total area of Thai Ha Industrial Park Project is currently listed as 100 hectares on the website of Ha Nam Industrial Park Management Board.
Several RFA attempts to contact the investor went unanswered, and Tran Xuan Duong, vice chairman of the Ha Nam People’s Committee, declined a request for an interview.
Low compensation offer
Residents of Chuong village told RFA that they were offered compensation of 73 million Vietnamese dong (US $ 3,175) for each “sao” (360 square meters) of land. Of the 500 households whose land is being requisitioned, more than 300 households accepted the offer and received compensation, while the rest asked for more money, citing market prices.
In Vietnam, one sao can earn 250 to 300 million dong (10,830 to 15,165 US $), which is three to four times more than the rate offered by the investor.
One villager, who spoke to RFA on condition of anonymity, said farming is the only way to make a living for many families whose land is being taken over.
“It is good to build industrial parks here ‘for the sake of the development of the country”, but affected households should be able to negotiate compensation prices, “said the villager.
“What will we live on if 100% of our agricultural land is reused?
Reported by the Vietnamese service of RFA. Translated by Anna Vu. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.