Illegal golf courses face scrutiny from ministries

14:43, May 05, 2010      

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Seven ministerial-level government departments jointly investigated the illegal construction of golf courses, an official with the Ministry of Land and Resources said Tuesday.

Li Jianqin, the head of law enforcement and supervision department under the ministry, was quoted as saying by China News Service (CNS) that illegal use of land resources is serious.

Li said some local officials believe that they can build golf courses after the State Council published a document concerning the tourism development of Hainan Province, which offered rules about the construction of golf courses.

"The State Council issued a document in January 2004, stipulating that different levels of governments and departments should not approve construction of new golf courses," Li said, adding the document is still valid.

He said seven ministerial-level government departments, including the Ministry of Land and Resources, Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the National Development and Reform Commission, are jointly investigating the illegal construction of golf courses.

The Ministry of Land and Resources also disclosed a case Tuesday concerning the illegal construction of a golf course by Yitong Coal Company in Erdos, North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
The Xinhua News Agency reported last month that the company was ordered to remove the golf course structure and pay a 1.5 million fine ($219,699) to the government.

The company applied in 2006 to build an agricultural park, and leased 65 hectares of farmland from local farmers.

The company suggested building a golf course and related facilities in 2008, but the Dongsheng district government did not approve it.
The local land resources authority discovered the illegal construction last year.

The Economic Information Daily reported earlier that the 233-hectare golf course, located in Jiuchenggong village, posed a threat to the environment.

Discussion on the construction of golf courses became heated after the Hainan tour-ism development document.

Wang Xiong, head of the Lingshui Li Autonomous county in the province, said during the annual sessions of the National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in March that construction of 10 golf courses was planned for the county. Two golf courses were already completed, the Time Weekly reported earlier.

Hainan Golf Association vice chairman Zheng Wenjian told the paper that 70 percent of the golf courses in the province are not profitable.
But golf courses are still under construction because they could help push up property prices, the paper reported.

CNS reported Tuesday that China has 400 newly built golf courses after 2004.

Source:Global Times


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