P.Thảo * CTV Danlambao – Locals at Trung Son, Bac Son, Truong Son wards and Quang Cu commune (Sam Son town, Thanh Hoa province) picketed outside the seat of the provincial People’s Committee for days in a row early March to demand authorities’ appropriate measures while requisitioning a coastal stretch of land along the moorings east of Ho Xuan Huong street.
News of a land handover to FLC corporation came in recently. Previously, a luxury resort, FLC Samson Beach & Golf Resort, had been built and came into use. However, its operational activities were criticized by locals as it was impossible for them to fish in the area handed over to the corporation.
Now, the continued requisition of coastal stretches of land along Sam Son beach to undertake a project on entertainment business and tourism worries locals. This is highly likely to end their traditional livelihood once their moorings are gone.
Mr.Trinh Tu Trong, who lives at Trung Son ward, spoke to the press: “A few years ago, the authorities took the agricultural land and forest land. Now, we are banned from fishing. For generations, our ancestors and we have been fishing for a living. Now that all our moorings here are going to be completely removed and relocated in Quang Hung dozens of kilometers away. We are local small fishermen; it is really difficult for us to carry the fishing equipment around.”
On behalf of the locality, Mr. Luong Van Hoang, vice-chairman of Quang Cu People’s Committee, added:
“This project will have direct impact on their traditional livelihood. The people here approve the provincial authorities’ policies, but they request the investor to leave some area for mooring their fishing boats. They are protesting because their request has not been granted.” (1)
Mr.Ngo Van Tuan, Vice-chairman of Thanh Hoa province People’s Committee, admitted on March 2nd that the project implementation was met with locals’ opposition and announced that: “FLC Corp. was chosen as an investor and area clearance has been basically completed. The authorities are determined that everything has to be done with by 15 April, before the opening of Sam Son Tourism Season in summer 2016.” (2)
Despite talks, locals and the authorities have not reached a consensus since most fishermen are unwilling to receive compensation for fear of losing their long-time livelihood and unemployment.
The firm has repeatedly hampered and driven the poor fishermen away while they were making a living on the very beach of their own. This explains why during the past few days hundreds of fishermen have gathered outside the seat of Thanh Hoa province People’s Committee demanding social justice.
At 15:30 pm, March 3rd, hundreds of them continued to picket right on Le Loi avenue, in front of the provincial People’s Committee with slogans that read: “Return the sea to the Sam Son people”, “The sea belongs to the people”....
So far, it has been a serious social issue in provinces when authorities requisition locals’ land and hand it to developers to invest in real estate and luxury hotels. This has deprived the locals of both their jobs and the place where they live.
And after today, given the luxury projects of FLC and the coastal reclamation project to create a new face for SamSon tourism, it is certain that there will be far more victims of social injustices in Thanh Hoa.