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Is Province Flip Flopping on Opposition to River Project?

Is Province Flip Flopping on Opposition to River Project?

Posted October. 27, 2010 11:26,   


South Gyeongsang Province is against giving up its right to handle the Nakdong River section of the four-river restoration project despite putting its official opposition to the venture in writing.

The province has delivered its stance in an official letter to the Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs Ministry.

The central government began a comprehensive review, including on whether to revoke the province’s right to handle the section, considering South Gyeongsang’s written opposition to the project.

Seoul seeks to revoke the right from the province rather than the province giving it back voluntarily. The central government plans to decide within 10 days, so who will take over the Nakdong River section will be decided soon.

The province said Tuesday in an official letter sent to Busan Regional Construction and Management Administration that the construction of reservoirs for irrigation and excessive dredging are expected to damage residents and the ecosystem. The letter was an official response to the request for a decision on the return of the project right from the Land Ministry.

The central government considered the letter the province’s official opposition to the restoration project since the construction of reservoirs for irrigation and dredging that the province objects to is the core of the Nakdong section.

The province repeatedly said it does not want to return the right. In the letter, it said, “South Gyeongsang Province will move forward with the project in a way that protects the lives and property of its residents, the natural environment and the ecosystem.

“Since many problems including water contamination are expected to arise due to buried waste nearby the Nakdong River, action needs to be taken,” it added. “To respond to residents’ concerns and make the project environmentally friendly, we will create a tentatively-named consultation council for the adjustment of the Nakdong River project to involve the Land Ministry and discuss specific action.”

In response, the Office of National River Restoration under the ministry rejected the proposed council and said it will soon make a decision on taking back the right.

“The government waited a few months at the risk of delay in construction, so it is hard to buy the argument that a new consultative body is needed,” said Shim Myung-pil, the head of the office. “We will make a decision after conducting a comprehensive review, including on the retrieval of the right to the project, by this week at the earliest or next week at the latest.”

“The river project must be consistently carried out from upstream to downstream. If one section is delayed, others are affected. Now is the time to make a decision,” he said.

“We will comprehensively review the case including cancellation of the construction of tributaries yet to be built and that do not affect the main stream of the Nakdong River."

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