Local residents in Duyet Trung commune of Cao Bang town in Cao Bang province have been bent over with a lot of problems – food shortage, dust and smoke, and the serious environment pollution.
Rice fields disappear, people get hungry
In the way to the Na Lung hamlet, one would see a deserted area which was once the iron ore mining site. And it would be a surprise to him that on the desolate land, there were still many permanent sentry boxes. Only those, who can show the documents granted by the Cao Bang Minerals and Metallurgy Company, or get the permission from security guards would be able to go through the boxes.
Hoang Van Thang, a local resident, was born in 1958, but he looked like as if he was over 80. He said that in the past, there was lucrative soil, which could feed all the local residents. Na Lung’s people were not rich, put no one had to bear the hunger.
However, later, Thang and many other local residents were told that they had to leave for other places to settle down, because the rice field area would be the mining site.
Thang received some money from the iron exploiter and left. Before leaving, he was promised that when the mining finishes, the company would give the land back to Thang and others so that they can continue growing rice.
The modest money given to Thang was just enough for him to build a house on the mountain side. However, since he had no more rice field, he has to go to the mountains to cultivate maize. When the crops were bountiful, he sold maize to get money to buy white rice. However, he had few opportunities to do that. He has been leading a hard life since then.
Thang said what he dreams of now is that the promise of the mining company is fulfilled. If so, Thang and other families would have land for cultivation again, and they would not have to worry about the food shortage and the hunger.
In the Na Lung hamlet, seven men were reportedly working for the mining company. However, their jobs are unstable: they are called only when there are works for them to do. However, the seven men are considered “lucky men”, because they have jobs to do and rice to eat.
Pollution, unemployment and hunger siege local residents
The stories about the pollution, unemployment and hunger have been resounding everywhere in Na Lung hamlet.
The mining has caused a serious pollution to the peaceful land. Meanwhile, with no land for rice fields, people cannot cultivate and suffer hunger regularly.
The complaints from the poor families whose land has been taken away have been resounding, in a place which is just ten kilometers far from the center of the Cao Bang province. However, the complaints have not reached the leaders’ ears.
Hoang Thi Hien, 55, said that her family suffers the food shortage for several months within a year.
Hien’s husband died in 1987, while she now has to feed a girl – a bedridden invalid – since the girl’s childhood. Meanwhile, her son and the daughter in law have to go work for other people to earn modest money which is not enough for food every day.
“The mining company refused to employ my daughter in law, though she is a metallurgy junior college graduate. Meanwhile, it has taken the rice field away. How can we live?” she questioned.
Source: Nong nghiep VN/ VNN
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