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Gov`t Pushes Forward to Establish Agricultural City in Kimpo`s Reclaimed Land

Gov`t Pushes Forward to Establish Agricultural City in Kimpo`s Reclaimed Land

Posted November. 26, 2001 09:21,   


As the government, Incheon City, and the environment groups have not reached to agreement as to whether the Kimpo`s reclaimed land should be preserved as agricultural land or should be developed, dispute among them is likely to become worse.

The government discussed plans to utilize the Kimpo`s reclaimed land in an economy minister`s meeting presided over by Jin Nyum, deputy prime minister and concurrent minister for finance and economy, on Saturday at the Bank Hall in Myong-dong, Jung-ku, Seoul.

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Kim Dong-Tae explained the draft on land usage based on the research result by the Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements in July last year. The draft contains the plan to preserve 52 percent of the Kimpo`s reclaimed land, which is a total of 487 pyong owned by the agriculture foundation corporation under the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, and to develop 48 percent to the `agricultural city` populated 80,000 to 100,000 people with the resident area, tourism, international businesses, and advanced research institutes.

However, the Ministry of Finance and Economy and the Ministry of Construction and Transportation opposed the plan, arguing that "it is not desirable to incorporate 52 percent to agricultural land by insisting the development goal promoted during the `Park Jung-Hee President regime` when the agricultural land needs to be reduced due to the over-supply of rice. It is also difficult to recover the development cost."

A Ministry of Finance and Economy official said, "Considering the prices of agricultural land of the surroundings, it will cost only 30,000 won per pyong when the government sells most part of the reclaimed land as the agricultural land. This can create the worst situation in which the government needs to fill the loss from its budget, as a huge loss is anticipated among the total sale funds of 635.5 billion won, 170,000 per pyong (current value of 200,000 won). Despite opposition from farmers, the government should develop the whole reclaimed land into something from which profit can be made."

The Ministry of Environment insisted that the whole reclaimed land should be made into the agricultural land for the preservation of environment, saying that "the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry insisted the `impossibility of changing the land usage with exception into making it the agricultural land` when the Dong-a Construction, which owned the land, requested for the change of land usage due to the financial difficulties in 1999. But, now the Ministry tries to change the land usage since it owns the land."

Incheon City to which the Kimpo`s reclaimed land belongs is also requesting to delay the development or to take a different development course because the development of Kimpo reclaimed land is overlapped with the time and content of the development business of Songdo new city.

Meanwhile, the government also discussed the present sale condition of Suhsan Farms, which is promoted by Hyundai Construction as a plan for self-help, and the issue of equity with other reclaimed lands following the change of land usage of the Kimpo`s reclaimed land.

Hyundai Construction originally planned to sell 30.82 million pyongs of Suhsan Farm to farmers and fishers, but has sold only 7.68 million pyongs yet due to the conflicts regarding the sale condition. Thus, it was reported that Hyundai Construction is considering establishing industrial complex by changing the usage of some part of the farm.

Joong-Hyun Park sanjuck@donga.com