Why do people in authority think they have the right to ignore the public?
  • By Bui Hoang Tam | dtinews.vn | May 21, 2016 05:12 AM
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha has had to interfere to help a family in Lam Dong Province who has been involved in a long dispute with local authorities over their land use rights.

The small dispute which could have been easily resolved by the local authorities in Duc Trong District has now become a major problem.

Before 1975, the family of Dam Thi Lich had cleared nearly 4,000 square metres of scrub land. They had been cultivating on the land for 11 years before giving the usage of it to the agricultural co-operative in 1986, of which they were a member. The local authorities gave them a lot of nearly 600 square metres of residential land.

Dam Thi Lich showed papers from authorities in Duc Trong District on her land lot

In 1993, Lich asked Duc Trong District People's Committee for compensation for their 4,000 m2 of farm land which had been used for other purposes but received no response.

When Lich prepared to asked for the land use right certificate for her residential land lot, the committee decided to divide it into two lots, 253.9 square metres of residential land and 310-m2 of farm land. However, they asked Lich to pay a land use fee of VND5.7 billion(USD253,900) for the residential land area.

Lich disagreed with the decision by Duc Trong People's Committee and had sent various complaints to agencies including Lam Dong Province's People Committee, Lam Dong Province's Party Committee, and the province's NA deputies calling for help. But she again received no response.

Lich then sought help from local media. DTiNews followed her stories and published 50 investigations which showed various wrongdoings.

And after the case was brought to the media and received lots of attention from the public, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Tran Hong Ha, on May 13 sent a delegation led by the head of the General Department of Land Management to Lam Dong to investigate the case.

Hong asked the delegation to carefully work with all the people involved and strictly fine any violators.

The results of the investigation have yet to be announced but even if Lich was wrong, the local authorities in Duc Trong District and Lam Dong Province should never have ignored a legitimate complaint raised by a member of the public.

"We don't know whether the party secretary, the chairman and the NA deputies for Lam Dong Province received our letters or not," Lich said. "How couldn't they receive them? And if they got them, why didn't they answer us?"

Those are legitimate arguments. But if Minister Ha didn't know about it, how long should Lich have to wait to get a response from the authorities?

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