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MPI: golf courses are not guilty   2012-03-22 - TBKTSG

Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh has affirmed that golf courses themselves are not guilty in the disappearance of fertile land soil and rice fields, and that this should be blamed on bad programming.
MPI attempts to restructure golf course planning

MPI Minister Bui Quang Vinh at the online dialogue with the public

There was a very important piece of news released by the Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh at the online dialogue with the public late last week that an instruction on the strengthening of the management over the golf course development would be released by the government. With the instruction, golf course “would be put on the right position”.

Vietnam once witnessed the movement of developing golf courses, when investors believed that this was a lucrative business field. After that Vietnam witnessed the movement of “saying ‘no’ to golf courses”. Experts then pointed out that thousands of hectares of fertile land soil turned into golf courses, leaving no agricultural land for farmers to cultivate.

Vinh has affirmed that it is necessary to keep unbiased outlook on the golf course development. Golf courses are not guilty themselves. If they are set up in the right positions, they would be able to bring many benefits to people, because they can help attract tourists, create jobs and upgrade the living standards of people.

In recent years, Vietnamese people tend to see golf courses as the “sinners,” because there were many golf courses which encroached on the rice fields and preventive forests.

People have their reasons to protest the development of golf courses. The government then made a decision to stop the development of the problematic golf courses. It has stated that no golf course on the land for rice fields, forest area and preventive forests would be licensed. Golf courses will be only allowed to arise on the sandy or fallow land, barren hills, in the places which really have great potentials to develop tourism.

Besides, the golf courses will be golf courses in the true sense of the word. There will be only golf courses and supporting works. Meanwhile, the golf courses would not contain too many things, from villas to urban areas.

In fact, there were a lot of projects on developing golf courses associated with urban areas. A recent survey showed that the total land area reserved for the 90 programmed golf courses reaches 6300 hectares, including 2 percent of the land for rice fields and no land for two-crop rice fields.

However, the problem was that the golf course developers attempted to use the land area allocated for the golf course projects for the real estate business. As such, the idea of developing a new kind of sports to satisfy the demand of people, tourists and foreign investors has been exploited for real estate trading.

Admitting that it was really a blunder, Vinh said that in the time to come, relevant agencies would not only check the licensed golf courses, but also treat the golf course projects which have turned into real estate projects. Investors must not use the land allocated for golf course projects to build villas for sale.

The minister believes that with the new strict regulations, the golf course projects would be “cleaner,” and that by that time, golf courses will be “vindicated.”

A question has been raised that if the government would license more golf course projects, if the courses do not cover the land for rice fields.

Local authorities recently continuously have asked for the permission to set up golf courses in their localities. According to MPI, the documents on 28 golf course projects have been put on the table of the ministry’s leaders, waiting for consideration.

There would be no common answer to all suggested golf course projects. The government would consider every project before making decision, while MPI would take the responsibility for examining the projects’ feasibility.

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