Mega-cemetery project appears to have been licensed hastily without proper consultation.
People in northern Vinh Phuc have expressed surprise at the licensing of the large Thien An Vien cemetery project, located at the northern entrance of the city near the existing Vinh Yen cemetery, saying it will affect thousands of households.
The project has significant capital, uses a large land area, and requires strict environmental protection measures. Licensing should therefore have been subject to consultation with central agencies such as the Ministry of Construction, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment before the Vinh Phuc Provincial People’s Committee gave its seal of approval. This process, for whatever reason, was not followed.
“The old cemetery already makes our lives miserable because of the pollution,” said Mr. Hoang Van Cuong, a local farmer. “What will our lives be like when a new, much larger cemetery is built?” The water from local wells reeks, he explained.
Local authorities have announced site clearance for the cemetery but the investor is yet to begin any work. Many local people are to lose their farming areas and information on what is to become of them remains thin on the ground.
By way of explanation, Mr. Bui Minh Hong, Chief of Office at the Vinh Phuc Provincial People’s Committee, said: “We issued the investment certificate before applying for additional planning so that we could stop the investment from going elsewhere.”
Thien An Vien cemetery is said to be the largest in Southeast Asia. Total investment is $69.08 million, on an area of 118 hectares. It will be built near the existing city cemetery, which has been subject to calls for removal on many occasions because of its environmental impact.