Authorities pledge to protect arable land

Authorities pledge to protect arable land
Published: 24 December 2004

China’s top land and resource authority pledged yesterday to support  key projects while cutting down on illegal land acquisitions. Major projects focused on energy, communications, water conservation, urban  infrastructure, education and national defence will be given the green  light, a senior official from the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) said. The ministry will also back projects to develop the west and rejuvenate old  industrial bases in Northeast China, said Land and Resources Vice-Minister  Li Yuan. Li made the remarks at the ministry’s national work conference in Beijing  yesterday.

His ministry will continue to tighten control of land use approvals next  year, Li said. Projects that break industrial policies or fail to meet market access requirements will be banned. These projects cover such sectors as iron and steel, cement, golf courses and house-building, he said. In April, Li’s ministry launched a nationwide campaign to examine the 81,962  projects already under construction on 792,600 hectares of land. Of those, 7,184 were being built illegally on 36,500 hectares. More than 7,000 projects were suspended or cancelled, the statistics shows.

China will set up a national land supervisory system and designate a  superintendent general to ensure rational use of the country’s land,  according to the vice-minister. The ministry is organizing experts and government officials to develop a comprehensive national plan on land use for the 15 years to come, Li said.