Special mechanism for repossessing land

(ĐTTCO) - The current compensation and resettlement process for owners of repossessed lands faces many difficulties and several disputes. The inflexibility of the prevailing regulations have caused delays in some projects and consequently impacted people’s benefits.

Special mechanism for repossessing land

At the last meeting with Ho Chi Minh City leaders, the Prime Minister allowed the city to run a pilot for “applying special mechanism in land clearance activities to shorten the time for compensation and resettlement”.

Clearly determine maximum time frame
The main objective of the special mechanism is to allow Ho Chi Minh City to proactively determine the adjusted factors which will calculate the price of repossessed land. The special mechanism will incorporate people’s opinions on the compensation and resettlement process and will help in issuing government decisions in this regard. 
Tran Vinh Tuyen, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, believes the target of this special mechanism is to shorten the entire time process of land compensation, resettlement and clearance. The mechanism will specifically point out the various phases of projects, depute responsible persons for each phase and specify maximum time allowed till completion. Based on these factors, it is possible to calculate maximum time required, from issuing decision for repossessed land until final clearance of land.
If Ho Chi Minh City applies this special mechanism, which will cover maximum time for issuing decision to repossess land and other notifications related to compensations and resettlement, it will take about 240 days; the maximum time for giving compensation will be 30 days; the maximum time for resettlement will be 30 days if 100 percent land owners agree, but will be 120-180 days if less than 100 percent land owners agree. The projects, which are supported with ODA funds, need to propose the Prime Minister to set specific frameworks.

Benefit to both project holders and land owners
According to Tran Vinh Tuyen, there remain some terms in the special mechanism that are not regulated under the prevailing legal framework, and not under authority of Ho Chi Minh City, hence the City needs approval of Prime Minister and other ministries. 
So far, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) has approved Ho Chi Minh City to proactively determine the adjusted factor in calculating land price. The MNRE also tasked Ho Chi Minh City to issue a special procedure for land repossessing, compensation and resettlement.
The other ministries agree for Ho Chi Minh City to split big projects into smaller phases and task these phases independently.  
The Vice Minister Truong Hoa Binh thinks this is a creative proposal, which will not only help push projects forward but also protect land owners. Practically speaking, either many landowners do not have legal land documents or some of these lands have just been used for agricultural purposes. That explains why the government allowed Ho Chi Minh City to run the pilot phase of the special mechanism for land repossessing, compensation, resettlement and clearance. The City has to make sure peoples’ benefits are protected.
A pilot is used to operate a new situation or clause that is not regulated by prevailing legal regulations. The government has agreed that Ho Chi Minh City will coordinate with other ministries to complete this mechanism at the earliest and propose the government to issue a legal documentation.

Do Tra Giang

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