Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Minh Quang, including other senior officials, on April 6 answered public questions about land use polices and the environmental effects of production on the Government website

In response to concerns related to the expiration of agricultural land grants by 2013, Quang said those who were granted land in 1993 and wished to continue agricultural activities, will be allowed to continue land use.

However, he said there will be adjustments in some cases, such as for households in which members stop farming or move to other places or households in which members die.

The Government will confiscate land no longer needed.

Extension application details will be specified in soon to be released guidelines.

Regarding a complaint about the slow progress in the granting of land use certificates for some housing development projects, both Minister Quang and Tran Hung Phi, head of the Department for Registration and Statistics under the General Department of Land Administration, admitted that these procedures are generally slow.

Phi cited investors' violations of the law code, the careless supervision and management of State agencies over the implementation of investment projects and house buyers' hesitance to go through procedures based on concerns over fees and taxes, as main reasons for the problem.

He said the Prime Minister has specified solutions to speed up the grant of land use certificates on August, 2011, which required frequent supervision on projects with slow progress, punishments toward violating investors and timely grants of certificates for house purchasers.

An inquirer from Tu Nghia District in central Quang Ngai province raised concerns about the difficulties in land clearance for some building projects due to low State compensation compared to market prices.

She asked that the market price of real estate be reduced to the price stipulated by the Government.

To answer her question, Quang said in some cases, if the compensation price is too low compared to the market price, there will be adjustments.

He said the price list set by the Government for compensation might be replaced by a new guideline on the criteria and principals to set up new prices in the future.

In this way, each province may have a price list of its own to fit conditions on the ground.

Quang added that a new agency will be set up specialised in solving problems concerning pricing.

In response to an inquirer from Nha Trang City in central Khanh Hoa Province who asked for solutions towards the pollution of air, land and water caused by many industrial zones, Deputy Minister Bui Cach Tuyen said there are adequate legal documents regulating the punishment for violations in environmental pollution.

He said inspections on such activities are frequently conducted in industrial zones.

Tuyen added that recent inspections have been made in 46 out of 56 provinces where industrial zones are located, and the results have been reported to local People's Committees and the police for further investigation.

The ministry has proposed an increase in the maximum fine for violations in environmental pollution. If approved, the fine will come to 2 billion VND (about 95,240 USD), much higher than the current maximum fine of 500 million VND (23,800 USD).

Tuyen added that the ministry will issue regulations on the automatic waste supervision system to better manage problems.-VNA