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Risk zones challenge ministry’s survey

Publication Date : 07-12-2013


The Nantou County Government yesterday announced an initial land analysis on Cingjing Farm, revealing that 20 per cent of the land scope possesses a potential high risk from natural disasters; however, the result is very different from the Ministry of the Interior's (MOI) results of 46 per cent, which the ministry revealed on Thursday.

The MOI on Thursday said an initial analysis of land over-utilisation shows that 46 per cent of Cingjing Farm is within the high-risk area, and 18 per cent of the land is within the middle-risk scope for natural disasters. Around 64 per cent (374 hectares) makes up the middle- to high-risk land scope.

The Nantou Construction Department said the Construction and Planning Agency (CPA) earlier provided potential natural disaster maps that symbolise the growing attention to potential disasters in Taiwan, and the county government had overlapped those maps with the map of Cingjing Farm to identify the potential risk areas. The results show about 20 percent of Cingjing's land resides in potential middle- to high-risk zones, the department said.

The Construction Department said it will meet with CPA officials next week regarding the significantly varying results of the two studies, noting that at the same time they would reach a consensus on setting up classification standards for land analysis.

Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan said that the government will demolish illegal hostels that operate within the high-risk land scope, stressing, however, that in order to retrieve more accurate details, the CPA will work with domestic experts and the Nantou County Government to inspect the area, and analyse the information in two weeks' time.

Nantou prosecutors criticise MOI

On Thursday, Lee held a press conference and said that as far as he knows, of the 134 hostels at Cingjing Farm, only four hostels completely comply with relevant regulations.

The Nantou District Prosecutors Office yesterday said it has spent nearly two years with a massive workforce investigating the hostels at Cingjing Farm, noting that it was very surprised that “the MOI had the information a long time ago.”

Over a year ago, the prosecutors' office started to investigate 139 hostels at Cingjing Farm over allegations of grabbing state-owned land and violating the Soil and Water Conservation Act, and the investigation process covered around three-fourths of the land scope, a Nantou prosecutor said.

A prosecutor who refused to be named said the prosecutors are surprised by the MOI, as the prosecutors spent much time to going up to the mountains to gather information that was already available yet not shared.

The prosecutor went on to say that hostels have been operated at Cingjing for over 20 years, and after the documentary film “Beyond Beauty: Taiwan From Above” hit theatres, the government finally began to face the issue.

Minister Lee said Cingjing Farm would be an example for the government to begin with solving environmental issues revealed in the documentary film, noting that the government will also review current Regional Plan Act, and land zoning regulations.



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