The paper’s reporters witnessed the illegal mining at the section of Cau River that passes Coc Luong village of Tan Hung commune in Soc Son district. Boats and barges operated under cover of darkness from 8 p.m. until early the next morning.
People on boats and barges dug up sand and gravel close to the foot of the dyke, the newspaper reported. High-capacity sand sucking equipment operated regularly. At night, a barge took away hundreds of blocks of sand and grave.
Most of the illegal sand mining boats were here for “yellow” sand and gravel, a natural resource that currently fetches a high price.
With such big benefits, more and more illegal sand miners appeared and employed tricks to evade the oversight of local authorities.
Nguyen Van Thu, Secretary of the Tan Hung commune Party’s Committee, said owners of illegal sand mining boats were people from Coc Luong village. Their close ties to the area complicated the situation of illegal-mining, as they cannot be dismissed as outsiders stealing local resources.
As a consequence of illegal sand mining, hundreds of meters of mudflats suffered erosion every day and night.
The eroded areas were close to the embankment, threatening the safety of the dyke system surrounding the two communes of Tan Hung and Trung Gia.
More dangerously, 200 ha of cultivated land in four villages lie just a few meters from the foot of the dyke. The farmers of the land now face the prospect of a dyke break.
Thu said Coc Luong village’s seriously eroded area was formerly under the management of local households. In recent years, they agreed to sell to a local company.
The company was licensed to engage in agricultural production and trade, not sand mining.
It was impossible to resolve the current situation because local authorities lack police forces and equipment to conduct arrests and issue sanctions.