A deputy secretary of Ia Rsai Commune Party Committee in Gia Lai Province has been accused of using agricultural land to build a tourism site.
Nguyen Dinh Thuan uses agricultural land for wrong purpose
The Ia Rsai Waterfall Eco-tourism site is right behind the headquarters of the Ia Rsai Commune People’s Committee and was opened by deputy secretary Nguyen Dinh Thuan last August.
Thuan has built five wooden shacks for tourism. There is a main wooden house in the centre of the site which is also one of the site’s highlights. Everything from the stairs to the furniture has been made of wood.
Nguyen Thi Dao, Thuan’s wife, said it was especially crowded during the festivals. During Tet Holiday, they earned VND3m (USD131) a day from parking fees alone. Dao hired hunters to catch wild pigs and deer.
“The hunters help take out the intestines in the forest and we sell the meat for VND250,000 (USD11) per kilo,” she said.
Dao said they bought five hectares of agricultural land from many people for over VND1bn (USD44,000) in 2007. Two hectares are used as eco-tourism site.
Mai Van Can, deputy head of Krong Pa District Department of Natural Resources and Environment, confirmed that the land is classified as agricultural land.
“It’s a violation if houses are built on agricultural land. You have to apply for land conversion first. If the site is suitable for the land planning then it can be kept and the owner will be fined. If not, any constructions will be removed,” said To Van Chanh, chairman of Krong-Pa District.
Phan Xuan Vu, head of Gia Lai Province Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said Thuan abused his power to build houses illegally as the site was not included in any planning or applied for permission.
“The authorities are willing to support individuals and organisations that want to contribute to the country but they have to ask for permission first. It’s even more unacceptable when they are state officials,” he said.
Meanwhile, the local vice party head and owner of the tourism site, Nguyen Dinh Thuan, said, “I admit that I’m wrong but I’m not going to remove anything. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”