Forest destruction at Van Phong Bay in the south-central coastal province of Khanh Hoa has become rampant following the government’s approval of the Bac Van Phong Special Economic Zone according to local authorities.
Addressing a meeting on April 6, vice chairman of Van Ninh District People’s Committee, Tran Ngoc Khiem said that they have set up an inspection team to prevent forest destruction on local islands following news that dozens of hectares of forests have been destroyed.
“We’re also trying to recover the land illegally taken from forests,” Khiem stressed.
It is said that land prices in Van Ninh District have soared after the government allowed Khanh Hoa Province to develop the master plan for Bac Van Phong Special Economic Zone late last year.
An anonymous leader in Van Gia Town said that they are seeing more people from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City coming to buy land in the area.
“Land plots along the beaches in Van Gia Town are now priced at as high as VND100 million (USD4,407) per square metre,” he said.
More real estate agents have been set up to serve the market and there are 15 agents operating in the small Van Gia Town now, the official added.
According to the district’s vice chairman Tran Ngoc Khiem, the land fever has been reported over the last few months in some communes including Van Thanh, Van Thang and Van Gia Town.
“We have instructed leaders of these communes to intensify land management in the area to prevent illegal transactions,” Khiem said.
Van Phong Bay covers 150,000 ha including 80,000 hectares water surface and 70,000 hectares of coastal land. It has been described as one of the best natural bays in Southeast Asia and has the potential to become an international transit hub.
Last August, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc approved a proposal to allow Khanh Hoa Province to develop the master plan for Bac Van Phong Special Administrative-Economic Zone.
According to the Khanh Hoa Provincial People’s Committee, they are planning to build the Bac Van Phong Special Administrative-Economic Zone on the whole area of Van Ninh District. The zone is expect to cover around 111,000 hectares with one town and 12 communes and a population of over 131,000 people.